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I just got word from Penguin that the corrected galleys for The Red Tree have not yet arrived in Manhattan, though they were mailed out from Providence on May 5th. They were in Bethpage, NY on Friday. And the word has come down from production that if the galleys don't make it in today, "we're in trouble." So...I will be sitting here fretting about this all damn day. Worse case scenario, I fax 100+ pages to my editor, but I'm hoping very much that it doesn't come to that. Every time I send something like this through the USPS, I make photocopies, and send it insured, with delivery conformation, because this sort of thing has happened too many times now. If I do have to fax them, I will have been better off making the drive from Providence last week and hand-delivering them.

Anyway...

Oftentimes, I'll begin a story, or a vignette, get a thousand or so words written, then hit a wall. When this happens, the pieces are shelved, and I always mean to get back to them. It just usually never happens. Yesterday, I dusted off a vignette I began on June 10, 2006, almost three years ago, and went back to work on it. It's called "Fish Wife," and I added 1,035 words to it yesterday. I'd actually intended to finish it for Sirenia Digest #41, last month, but then other tales occurred to me, instead. Now, it will appear in #42. On June 11, 2006, I wrote of the story:

"Yesterday, there were words and a very brief hope that I'd found the next vignette. I began something called "Fish Wife," but 1,012 words in, it told me it was a short story, not a vignette, and that it would not be perverted into something it was never meant to be. Which is to say, yes, I wrote yesterday, but what I wrote was of no particular help whatsoever. Which puts me back where I began. 27...no, 28 ideas presently unavailable. Think of something else. Think of something else. Now."

And here it is, wanting to be a very short piece, after all. Surprise.

The following comment was posted to the blog mirror at MySpace, regarding my comments on the difficulty of writing "lost world" stories in this day and age:

I humbly disagree, there are many places left in this world to hide. The deep sea is a mystery as are the caverns of earth...And as far as space, we only look at tiny, tiny pieces at a time, it really would not be hard for something to "slip by" especially if it didn't fit our limited specification of being "life."

I should have made myself clearer. I was speaking strictly of stories involving undiscovered or forgotten terran landmasses above sea level. Yes, of course, deep space is wide open, but hardly the same. As for the deep sea, while much of it remains unexplored, it has been very well mapped. I'm sure very many strange things await discovery beneath the waves, but not things on the order of "lost continents." As for caverns, the best you can hope for there are microenviroments. These can also make for great story fodder, but also weren't what I was speaking of when I spoke of lost worlds. In the time of high-resolution satellite cartography, it's hard to hide so much as a boulder, much less anything even as meager as an island.

And my thanks to sovay for linking to this story, which I'd missed: "Venetia Phair Dies at 90; as a Girl, She Named Pluto."

---

On Saturday night, we watched a trio of short Asian horror films collectively titled Sam gang yi (2004; marketed in the US as Three Extremes). It includes Fruit Chan's "Dumplings," Chan-wook Park's "Cut," and Takashi Miike's "The Box." Though I enjoyed all three, I was especially impressed by "The Box," a grim sort of adult fairy tale, like something that might have come from Angela Carter's travels in Japan. It left me wanting to see more of Miike's work. Then, last night, we watched the decidedly bland Rise, directed by Sebastian Gutierrez, and starring the usually far more interesting Lucy Lui (and also Michael Chiklis, who's never really interested me). Ace reporter gets vampirized and goes on a suicidal, vengeful vamp-killing spree. How many times have we been treated to this fundamental scenario now, in one permutation or another? Regardless, it really could have been a lot better, even working from such hackneyed material. There were moments, here and there, but nowhere near enough to save the whole.

---

Yesterday, Spooky drove down to her parent's farm in Saunderstown, and she took some very encouraging photographs of spring, including apple and blueberry blossoms, wild flowers, and Spider cat:















All photos Copyright © 2009 by Kathryn A. Pollnac

Comments

( 10 comments — Have your say! )
sovay
May. 11th, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
Worse case scenario, I fax 100+ pages to my editor, but I'm hoping very much that it doesn't come to that.

Fingers crossed. I assume they will tell you whether the galleys have arrived or not?

It's called "Fish Wife," and I added 1,035 words to it yesterday.

Sounds promising to me . . .

I was especially impressed by "The Box," a grim sort of adult fairy tale, like something that might have come from Angela Carter's travels in Japan.

Oh, nice. I will keep an eye out for it.
greygirlbeast
May. 11th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)

Fingers crossed. I assume they will tell you whether the galleys have arrived or not?

Yeah. I'm waiting right now to hear if they come in with the afternoon mail.
humglum
May. 11th, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)

Oh, nice. I will keep an eye out for it.

If you have Netflix, you can stream it. Otherwise, I'd imagine any of the better video stores in your area should have a copy.
sovay
May. 11th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
Otherwise, I'd imagine any of the better video stores in your area should have a copy.

Thanks!
beerdiablo
May. 11th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC)
Option for the Galley
Rather than faxing - a copy shop should be able to make a PDF using a copier [might have to break it up in batches, depending on capacity], then you could email it. It probably won't be color but could work.
greygirlbeast
May. 11th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Option for the Galley

Rather than faxing - a copy shop should be able to make a PDF using a copier [might have to break it up in batches, depending on capacity], then you could email it. It probably won't be color but could work.

Hmmm. Interesting option. Thanks. Colour isn't an issue, as all I have are photocopies of the corrected pages.
mr_earbrass
May. 11th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
Good luck with the galleys; I'm overnighting mine tomorrow via FedEx because the USPS sketched me out with a late delivery the last time I sent something important. I'm pretty sure FE is way more expensive, though...

As a Miike fan I have to say you started with one of his best--that segment schools most of his full length features, in my opinion. That said, he's an interesting director who is as fearless as any contemporary artist I can think of. American critics often dismiss him as being all shock and no substance but while he undeniably loves the outlandish and the offensive I feel there's a depth to his work that is often overlooked. He's equally at home with children's fantasy films like The Great Yokai War as he is with filthy, mean-spirited satire (Visitor Q, Ichi the Killer), and what he accomplishes on a budget is pretty damn impressive. His Audition is way more fun the less you know about it, and I'd also highly recommend Gozu and his Dead or Alive trilogy--particularly the final entry.

He also made his English language debut with an entry in the Masters of Horror series that featured Billy Drago, who would be the poor man's Julian Sands if Sands himself hadn't already become the poor man's Julian Sands.
ardiril
May. 11th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
"send it insured, with delivery conformation"

This is almost guaranteed to make anything arrive late with today's USPS. For the cost of insurance and delivery confirmation, you might as well FedEx it overnight. You still write it off your taxes either way.
easter_lane
May. 11th, 2009 11:11 pm (UTC)
I appreciate Miike more in small bursts than I do his full length pictures. While "The Box" is awesome, his entry in the
Masters of Horror series, "Imprint", is phenominal. The visual language is simply stunning.
humglum
May. 11th, 2009 11:48 pm (UTC)

his entry in the Masters of Horror series, "Imprint", is phenominal. The visual language is simply stunning.

We almost watched that one, too. It's definitely going to be seen soon.
( 10 comments — Have your say! )