Yesterday was better, from a writing standpoint. I did 817 words on a new vignette for Sirenia Digest #46, which I'm calling "Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint." Hopefully, when I read over the pages later today, I'll still like them.
Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi has written a genuinely beautiful review of The Red Tree, which will appear in the Fall 2009 issue of Dead Reckonings. He's given me permission to include excerpts from it in this entry. Now, however, I'm re-reading his review, and finding it almost as hard to excerpt as the novel itself. I do adore this line (how could I not?):
...but Kiernan’s witchery of words creates a mesmerising effect that we haven’t seen since the days of Lovecraft and Bradbury..
...and this bit near the end....
Those seeking a neat resolution to the overall scenario—either to the supernatural manifestation that is the red tree or to the lives and fates of the protagonists—are likely to be disappointed. As Sarah herself states at the end, “Just when you think it’s one thing, this story, it’ll go and become something else entirely.” The Red Tree is supremely rewarding not merely for its moments of terror, but for its ineffably sensitive display of the complexity of human emotions. It is a kind of “Heart of Darkness” for our time——an exploration of both the sinister darkness of the foreboding rural landscape and of the inscrutable darkness of the human heart. The reader comes away feeling privileged to have read it.
Anyway...yeah. This review, by a critic and scholar I so admire, has sort of helped pull me through the angry darkness of the past few days. But the excerpts do not do the review justice.
Yesterday, a reader asked: "You make me wonder, though, is it more important to be good or be recognized? I know both are best, but the question is for either or."
Which makes it a very hard question, indeed, if I am to choose only the one or the other. But you do have to begin all this by understanding that being a good writer does not even come near to a guarantee that one will also be recognized. Most good writers——most writers period——go unrecognized. Of course, here we would need to define our terms, good and recognized. The first possesses fewer problems than the latter, though the definition would be necessarily subjective, and would change, to a degree, from one reader to the next. But defining recognized, that's a tougher call. Are we talking about the critics and reviewers? Do we mean recognition to be synonymous with fame, and do we expect fame to bring financial stability or fortune? We all ask complex questions, often thinking them to be simple. And, you know what? I am not awake enough for this question. Maybe I'll come back to it...
Spooky's been getting lots of new stuff up at her Dreaming Squid Etsy shop, and you really ought to take a look. I stole one of the figurines for my own. If I had my way, I'd never let her sell any of them. These pieces are one of a kind and very time intensive.