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random tedium, and Desire

Yesterday, I did 1,276 words on "Bradbury Weather." I have reached the point where I can feel the pull of The End. It threatens to make me sloppy, and I have to take extra, extra care with each and every word. Momentum can lead me astray, make me overconfident, lead to my missing some crucial path the story should take. Which is to say, I did not fuck off to the cinema yesterday to see The Forgotten. I wrote. I am deeply tied up in this story's protagonist, which is disturbing, because she's a total frelling asshole. This happens sometimes, I begin to identify very strongly with a character. No. That's not right. I almost always identify very strongly with my characters. I mean to say that sometimes I begin to see myself as them. Hyperempathy. Were I not a writer, this would be labled schiziform behavior or some such dren. Anyway, this character, a woman whom I only know as Dorry, keeps swapping places with me as I write her. I know she's doomed. She knows she's doomed. So which of us is the bigger asshole. Afterall, in this situation, I am Creator, and I can change the direction of her life. I can redeem her. I can lead her away from her doom. But I won't. Because that's not what happens. If I believed in God, per se, which I don't, per se, I would have to wonder if It's not bound by the same stricture. A story, to be true, must proceed along a certain path. A story is this reality, constrained by laws, natural and otherwise, and to be a true story (not to be confused with a factual story</i>) it must proceed along a particular path. If that path is bound for doom, then that God could not intervene and divert it without becoming a liar, and all this casts suspicion on freewill, of course. At least, it brings up questions about the consequences of freewill. Can God change the rules? If God is ominpotent and omniscient, can It keep a secret from Itself? Can I tell myself I was wrong all along, and Dorry gets to sidestep her fate? Only if I'm willing to be a liar.

This is like leading Chance and Narcissa to the warrens. Did I ever have another choice. Another true choice?

And, also, this story is an ambitious one. What I mean by that is that it wants to be one of those stories like "Tears Seven Times Salt," "Onion," "The Road of Pins," "Andromeda Among the Stones," The Dry Salvages — one of those stories that stands up above the rest. I can't promise it will, but it does have ambition, and that can be a terrible, weird thing.

Jennifer is proofreading the first issue of Subterranean Magazine for subpress, which inclues an interview with Thomas Ligotti and an excerpt from a new book by Joe R. Lansdale. Cool stuff. Spooky's being frustrated by a pair of Halloween pants she's trying to make, researching Chaos Magic, and managing the eBay auctions (please, buy something today). We are busy little creatures 'round here, all of us.

Thanks to everyone who took part in yesterday's poll. It's still open, of course. I'd like to see it active for a while yet. At the moment, 63 votes have been cast. Low Red Moon is far ahead, with 44.8% of the votes. Threshold and Murder of Angels are not quite neck-and-neck (25.9 and 20.7%, respectively). Silk has only 17.2%, and The Five of Cups has a mere 1.7% (more than I expected it to get). There are some curious things here. To start with, Silk has, according to my editor at Penguin, been my most successful book. Low Red Moon has been my least successful. This is in terms of sales, of course, which only matter because I like to eat and go places and buy things. But in the poll, their positions are essentially reversed relative to their sales. A bias is at work somewhere, somehow. For that matter, Threshold, the book that won an award, was nominated for another, brought me more critical attention than any of my other books, and led to my entanglement in Hollywood, is lagging behind in second place. This dren fascinates me. Anyway, it's not too late to vote. Please do. I'd like to see a hundred votes, to perhaps approach a total that might be quasi-statistically significant. You Blogger people can take part, too. Just follow the white rabbit (and scroll down to yesterday).

I find myself actually wanting to write today. You don't have any idea how rare that is. Normally, I'd rather go walk in Piedmont Park or visit the dinosaurs at Fernbank or play Morrowind or read Dr. Seuss or Lovecraft or vacuum up the dust bunnies in the hallway. But, today, I want to write. The pull of The End and the pull of the darkness waiting there.

Thanks to stardustgirl (Maureen) for the following photo, me in Graceland, wearing Desire's red (and soon to be auctioned at Fiddler's Green for the benefit of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund) Docs (sorry it's so large, but I didn't have time to resize the photo):



Oh, and, from Dragon*Con, this one's for Sissy, Kat, and Jean-Paul, just because I felt like posting it:


(Gotta love the squeaky hedgehog, left, which is not a porcupine.)


Ah. I need to go write, and I haven't yet talked about the Kid Night movies. Quickly, then, we picked Requim from the Darkness, the first four eps of an anime that would only be so-so (think Tales from the Darkside as anime), except the art was really superb, lots of heavy lines and black, creating a beautiful luminescence for the color. It kind of made me think of Steve Leiloha's art for "The First Adventure of Miss Catterina Poe" (The Dreaming #56). Anyway, our second choice turned out to be a truly superb adaptation of Thomas Middleton's Revenger's Tragedy, directed by Alex Cox (Sid and Nancy) and set in a post-Apocalyptic Liverpool instead of an Elizabethan wherever. Both Chistopher Eccleston and Eddie Izzard were superb, and I strongly recommend you seek out this DVD. If Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juleit had been a much better movie, one not lost in its own distracting excess, this is the sort of movie it would have been. It has the darkness and cynical of, say, Shakespeare's Titus Adronicus. Not a typical Kid Night film, but we were very pleased.

Comments

( 28 comments — Have your say! )
cinzazul
Sep. 25th, 2004 06:00 pm (UTC)
I'm trying hard not to do this everytime I see a picture of myself online.
Is my head really that big?
greygirlbeast
Sep. 25th, 2004 06:08 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm trying hard not to do this everytime I see a picture of myself online.
Is my head really that big?

It's a nice head, dear. And part of that is the hair and goggles, and the fact that your head is slightly in the foreground, foreshortening your body slightly.
cinzazul
Sep. 25th, 2004 06:12 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm trying hard not to do this everytime I see a picture of myself online.
Well that is a relief. I was doing the magic eye thing where you unfocus your eyes and superimpose images from one eye over the other, and my head in that picture could easily consume anyone elses.

It was garmungus.
cinzazul
Sep. 25th, 2004 06:14 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm trying hard not to do this everytime I see a picture of myself online.
And AH! I'm on TV. People at Fiddler's Green are going to look at that picture and wonder what horror movie is being shown.

"The Head that Ate a Nation."
greygirlbeast
Sep. 25th, 2004 06:27 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm trying hard not to do this everytime I see a picture of myself online.
Well that is a relief.

You don't even want to get me started on being insecure about one's appearance. At the moment, I'm convinced I could pass for the lovechild of Iggy Pop and Carole Channing. No, really.
cinzazul
Sep. 25th, 2004 06:10 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm trying hard not to do this everytime I see a picture of myself online.
Also, concerning the poll, I'm not sure how much of a accurate portrayal any answer will have at this point, the people who read your journal are more predisposed to having read more of your work, so they have seen how you are improving and creating more and better stuff every time you give us a book. The fact that Silk is your best selling is also because its been on the shelves the longest. A lot of people started there and then moved on to find joy in the other books and in your journal entries. I think MOA will show higher on the poll once more people have had a chance to buy and read it. I can only speak for myself here, but there's been a lot going on and although I dearly wish I could have bought a copy already, I have not had the opprotunity. So yeah, whet your whistle and chew on that gristle.
greygirlbeast
Sep. 25th, 2004 06:21 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm trying hard not to do this everytime I see a picture of myself online.
Also, concerning the poll, I'm not sure how much of a accurate portrayal any answer will have at this point, the people who read your journal are more predisposed to having read more of your work, so they have seen how you are improving and creating more and better stuff every time you give us a book.

This is a good point. Don't worry. I'm taking all sorts of biases into account.

The fact that Silk is your best selling is also because its been on the shelves the longest.

Silk has sold more in both relative and absolute numbers. It had a first printing of something like 40K copies. First printing on Threshold, Low Red Moon, and Murder of Angels, because they are trade paperbacks instead of mass-market paperbacks, were closer to 10K.

I think MOA will show higher on the poll once more people have had a chance to buy and read it.

I think you're right, which is one reason I'd like to keep this poll going a while.

So yeah, whet your whistle and chew on that gristle.

Indeed.
iliadawry
Sep. 25th, 2004 06:37 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm trying hard not to do this everytime I see a picture of myself online.
There are probably also other people like me who haven't voted in the poll because one or more of the choices could be referred to Mystery Box #1.

I have both Low Red Moon and Murder of Angels on order though. And I read the excerpt of LRM at your website and am now making occasional strange whining noises at the mailbox and the driveway in hopes that, all delivery estimates aside, it will arrive now now now.
lemonlies
Sep. 25th, 2004 06:01 pm (UTC)
i haven't previously commented on any of your posts, but i decided now was the time. i did vote in the poll and i just wanted to let you know that i really enjoy your writing and i'm very appreciative of the fact that you keep this blog. it's really interesting to know what goes on in the head of one of my favourite authors, even if it is specifically written for the benefit of fans.
so, again, thanks. :)
greygirlbeast
Sep. 25th, 2004 06:23 pm (UTC)
I am very pleased you get something from the journal.

it's really interesting to know what goes on in the head of one of my favourite authors, even if it is specifically written for the benefit of fans.

I don't think anyone sane would want to read the stuff that goes into my private journals.
styggian
Sep. 25th, 2004 07:31 pm (UTC)
My first impulse was of course to vote for Silk being that it was the literary equivalent of an epiphany to me.
But I do believe that I liked Low Red Moon, as a whole, better.
robyn_ma
Sep. 25th, 2004 07:41 pm (UTC)
it's neat that the TV in the background in the first photo is showing the second photo. it's kind of a 'nar'eth and caitlín, together at last' photo...
greygirlbeast
Sep. 25th, 2004 08:05 pm (UTC)
it's kind of a 'nar'eth and caitlín, together at last' photo...

I'd notb thought of it that way.
hewet_ka_ptah
Sep. 25th, 2004 09:28 pm (UTC)
researching Chaos Magic

Reading Phil Hine? Peter Carroll?

Here are some links Spooky might dig:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/chaos/
http://www.chaosmagic.com/archives/index.shtml
greygirlbeast
Sep. 25th, 2004 10:00 pm (UTC)
Reading Phil Hine?

I am about to, on the recommendation of Storm Constantine, who has consented to guide me through this thing.
mellawyrden
Sep. 25th, 2004 09:41 pm (UTC)
Beautiful pictures - you are gorgeous.

I think I am starting to look like Hugo Weaving and JOey Ramone had a daughter. And not in a good way.
memkhet
Sep. 25th, 2004 10:34 pm (UTC)
Good, but weird, Photoshop job. I'm amused. (Did Maureen get a closeup of the boots, by any chance?)

http://www.scaredhedgehog.net/pip/gallery/galleries/dragoncon_2004/2004/09/10/nareth/index.php
greygirlbeast
Sep. 25th, 2004 10:39 pm (UTC)
That frelling Pip! Aarrgghh! I never did get my frelling keys back. Finally, had to hot-wire the thing! One day, you're goin' down, you prickly far-boot-ta!
setsuled
Sep. 26th, 2004 12:18 pm (UTC)
That frelling Pip!

Made for a nice photo, though. Did you name your gun after Chiana, then?
greygirlbeast
Sep. 26th, 2004 01:15 pm (UTC)
Did you name your gun after Chiana, then?

My gun? No, Pip is the fanboy hedgehog. Thus far, my pulse pistol has no name.
tagplazen
Sep. 26th, 2004 02:13 am (UTC)
which inclues an interview with Thomas Ligotti

I would vote republican to have a drink with Ligotti. ;-)

Every time I read him it reminds me of that quote by Stein "The paragraph is the emotional unit of the English language".
setsuled
Sep. 26th, 2004 07:47 am (UTC)
Can God change the rules? If God is ominpotent and omniscient, can It keep a secret from Itself?

Hmm. I guess that makes omnipotence a paradox . . .

Can I tell myself I was wrong all along, and Dorry gets to sidestep her fate? Only if I'm willing to be a liar.

I guess the downside of being a fictional character is that no one really gets in trouble when you get murdered. I suppose the lack of literally tangible consequences makes the sacrifice of this lamb more potent.

This reminds me of a Samurai Jack episode I was watching earlier this evening. It was a film noir homage about a robot, one of Aku's henchmen, who was given emotions by one of Aku's scientists. It made him better at his job because he had fear. But when his model of robot was deemed obsolete, he retired and apparently fell in love with a dog. But, of course, he comes out of retirement when Aku kidnaps the dog and orders the robot to take out Jack.

I turned to my friend during the commercial and said, "Man, it'd be so cool if he died at the end, killed by Jack. I mean, that's where a real noir story would go from here."

My friend argued with me, saying the narration by the robot was being told after the events--I pointed out the narration was actually spoken in present tense. My friend obviously didn't want to see him die so I pointed out, "Hey, I'm not saying I don't like him. I do like him, and that's why I think it'd be cool if he died. If the writers had the guts to give us that kind of heartbreak in a show like this."

And, of course, the drad fellows at Jack came through and the robot did die. The reason they're able to do this on what is ostensibly a kids show is that the robot was a machine--I've noticed Jack's allowed to hack anything to pieces so long as, when he does, we see a bunch of sparking circuits inside the creature. I've noticed them really pushing the envelope with this--the episode I'm talking about clearly illustrates that.

In a way, it's perfect that it was a film noir homage because of how buried some of the grimier things in 1940s film noir had to be because of the Hayes’ Production Code. My point here is to do with how badly we seem to need to be devastated by fiction--No one can really force back the symbol of death all the way. The artist finds that note, that thread and the viewer takes hold of it, and knows what the artist is talking about because it's where the viewer's interest is too.

We need to be told we're dying horribly or something. We just need that for some reason.

Thanks to stardustgirl (Maureen) for the following photo,

Neat photos. You look good.

the first four eps of an anime that would only be so-so (think Tales from the Darkside as anime), except the art was really superb

That seems to be true of an awful lot of anime. Japan needs more writers. Y'know, Caitlin, you've got daijobu desu, how hard could the rest of the language be? Well, speaking as someone who has taken some classes on the subject . . . er . . . well, you're smarter than me and I'm sure you'd get in no time--Japan needs you!
greygirlbeast
Sep. 26th, 2004 01:14 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I guess that makes omnipotence a paradox . . .

It seems kind of obvious to me that omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, especially when combined, create paradoxical situations.

I guess the downside of being a fictional character is that no one really gets in trouble when you get murdered. I suppose the lack of literally tangible consequences makes the sacrifice of this lamb more potent.

Well, one might ask the same question of the "real" or "external" universe. If I'm run over by a bus or eaten by a shark, who "gets in trouble"? Does some great cosmic creative force or whatever have to go to bed without dinner? Only if we assume that the happening of unpleasant things merits punishment. But I think that idea's only good, only has merit, within a narrow moral framework, such as those possessed by various human societies. If a writer is a god-force for an alternate reality, the writer will not be held accountable, beyond his or her own guilt, for facilitating the flow of that reality's history. Unless we are held accountable by the writers writing us. Thoughts of infinite regression follow.

My friend argued with me, saying the narration by the robot was being told after the events--I pointed out the narration was actually spoken in present tense.

I'm pleased that you both are grasping the limitations of first person.

And, of course, the drad fellows at Jack came through and the robot did die. The reason they're able to do this on what is ostensibly a kids show is that the robot was a machine--I've noticed Jack's allowed to hack anything to pieces so long as, when he does, we see a bunch of sparking circuits inside the creature. I've noticed them really pushing the envelope with this--the episode I'm talking about clearly illustrates that.

It'll be interesting when people finally develop a moral sensibility applicable to machines. I think our machines only need to get a little smarter before this begins. It began some time ago in fiction (Hal as tragic psychopath, Mother as indifferent authority figure, etc.), but I haven't seen much evidence of it in the "real" world. It's one reason I was pleased with AI: Artificial Intelliegnce. The film worked hard to extend sympathy to machines.

Of course, others would say that burdening machines with emotions in, indeed, a bad thing. They might be right.

My point here is to do with how badly we seem to need to be devastated by fiction--No one can really force back the symbol of death all the way. The artist finds that note, that thread and the viewer takes hold of it, and knows what the artist is talking about because it's where the viewer's interest is too.

We need to be told we're dying horribly or something. We just need that for some reason.


A common and somewhat simplistic explanation of this is that we need rehearsals for death. I'm not sure it's so straightforward.

You look good.

For the loevchild of Iggy Pop and Carole Channing, yes. But thank you.

Y'know, Caitlin, you've got daijobu desu, how hard could the rest of the language be? Well, speaking as someone who has taken some classes on the subject . . . er . . . well, you're smarter than me and I'm sure you'd get in no time--Japan needs you!

I have a friend you tried getting a degree in Japanese in grad school, I think the language is beyond me. I fear I've long since passed the point where acquiring new languages is something I could do much of. I pick up bits, here and there. But I fear I'm stuck with English and Nebari Standard.
setsuled
Sep. 26th, 2004 04:35 pm (UTC)
It seems kind of obvious to me that omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, especially when combined, create paradoxical situations.

For some reason I'd never thought about it.

Well, one might ask the same question of the "real" or "external" universe. If I'm run over by a bus or eaten by a shark, who "gets in trouble"? Does some great cosmic creative force or whatever have to go to bed without dinner? Only if we assume that the happening of unpleasant things merits punishment. But I think that idea's only good, only has merit, within a narrow moral framework, such as those possessed by various human societies.

I do recognise this but what I was thinking of was the fact that because most people in our society instinctively regard murders of fictional people as being free of any promise of retribution from an external source--while they instinctively probably view actual murder the other way around--fictional murder can therefore kind of trick them into entering thought processes that they otherwise might not.

Thoughts of infinite regression follow.

Probably it's a couple of angry tree gods waiting for you, mad that you've been tattooing the flesh of their people. (I know I'm being silly)

I'm pleased that you both are grasping the limitations of first person.

I just wanted you to know. No, actually, I was saying that because I thought it illustrated that my friend was upset enough by the idea of the character dying that he was grasping at a straw.

It's one reason I was pleased with AI: Artificial Intelliegnce. The film worked hard to extend sympathy to machines.

That's a good movie, I don't care what anyone says.

Of course, others would say that burdening machines with emotions in, indeed, a bad thing. They might be right.

I suppose. After all, we've already got humans to be emotional, why give it to robots too? It's funny how attractive emotionless computer minds can be, too . . .

A common and somewhat simplistic explanation of this is that we need rehearsals for death. I'm not sure it's so straightforward.

I don't think so. Otherwise there'd be a lot more movies of people dying peacefully in their sleep.

But I fear I'm stuck with English and Nebari Standard.

Well, having learned English when Nebari's your first language is a hell of an accomplishment in itself.
greygirlbeast
Sep. 26th, 2004 05:39 pm (UTC)
I do recognise this but what I was thinking of was the fact that because most people in our society instinctively regard murders of fictional people as being free of any promise of retribution from an external source--while they instinctively probably view actual murder the other way around--fictional murder can therefore kind of trick them into entering thought processes that they otherwise might not.

Agreed.

Probably it's a couple of angry tree gods waiting for you, mad that you've been tattooing the flesh of their people. (I know I'm being silly)

I'd agree, only very little paper is actually manufactured from trees these days.

Unless I'm wrong about that.

That's a good movie, I don't care what anyone says.

Good for you!

I don't think so. Otherwise there'd be a lot more movies of people dying peacefully in their sleep.

But many people are not lucky enough to die peacefully. So, we need to rehearse all those worst-case scenarios.

Well, having learned English when Nebari's your first language is a hell of an accomplishment in itself.

Yes, but that occurred by an artifical and unreproducable process of linguistic assimilation.
setsuled
Sep. 30th, 2004 12:39 pm (UTC)
It seems kind of obvious to me that omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, especially when combined, create paradoxical situations.

But then again, if you're omnipotent, nothing's a paradox unless you say it is. And, by the by, I can't sleep.
tarots
Sep. 26th, 2004 01:50 pm (UTC)
whoa
At eBay to make a donation to the fund
and see this

Not Cool

Tsk.
greygirlbeast
Sep. 26th, 2004 02:55 pm (UTC)
Re: whoa
At eBay to make a donation to the fund
and see this

Not Cool

Tsk.


Thanks for pointing that out. This is one reason I prefer people, usually, to use a combination of Buy-It-Now and PayPal.
( 28 comments — Have your say! )