We're not yet going to Code Orange, which is not to say that I wrote yesterday, because I didn't. But I did talk to the editor of the book for which the Mars YA story is being written. One of the (numerous) things that's been hanging me up is a fear that my subject matter might be too "mature" for the intended audience. So, I laid it all out for my editor: my Mars, bereft of men a century after a biowar that destroyed the male population and left the planet quarantined. The female colonists have adapted. We have a society where lesbianism is the normative state, and where heterosexuality dooms one to a life of loneliness and stigma. Women breed via frozen-sperm deliveries from Earth, and also by a complicated parthenogenic process. And this story is about a young girl who is heterosexual. It's just the way she is, despite all the careful social conditioning to insure there will be no straight women, despite genetic engineering, whatever. She's into men, even though she's only ever seen photos and read of them. And, so, what's it like for her? Much to my relief, my editor approved the story concept, so long as I steer clear of any explicit sexual content (which I'd assured him I would).
So...yesterday, I began tearing "XX" apart and rebuilding it another way. It won't be precisely the story I set out to write, because I discovered the narrative structure simply wasn't working. And I've retitled the new incarnation "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars." Today, I have to make Substantial Progress towards THE END. If I can do that today and for a week thereafter, we can probably avert a Code Orange.
My thanks to everyone who commented yesterday. They were good comments. And I spent much of yesterday mulling over my decision to withdraw from Facebook and Twitter, and I know it was the right decision for me. And very late last night, I was able to put my finger on exactly why neither was working for me (this most applies to Facebook). Thanks to technology that didn't exist only a decade or so ago, you get to watch how it is that I do this thing that I do. You get to watch, and discover what it is like for me. Day after day. You even get to watch for free. And questions are nice, and comments are okay. But I am not blogging to trigger some "meaningful dialogue" with my readers, and I sure as hell don't want (or have time for) arguments. I've been blogging since November 2001, and it's never been about that. And you don't get to try and cheer me up when I'm down, and you don't get to wax ironic or glib if I come across like a mopey old sock. You do not get to try and change the thing you've been allowed to watch. I am glad to have you here, but you're not a part of the process. Those who read this blog are readers, or, if you prefer, observers. And the best observers do not interfere. Think of it as a Prime Directive. This seemed especially difficult for people at Facebook, where I was barraged with constant attempts to "make me feel better," or, worse, people criticizing me for feeling down, for having a hard time with the words, for the fact that I'm not the sort of writer who loves to write, and so forth. Most of those comments were deleted.
I'd post, "No words today. No words at all." And someone would shoot back, "IDK I count seven LOL." Or something even less helpful (though more articulate), like "...if writing's such a painful burden, walk away and find something else to do." Um, yeah. Anyway, this is the sort of shit makes me want to torture soccer moms and cheerleaders with rusty 19th-Century surgical instruments (oh, okay; I always want to do that, regardless). So, yeah...watch, but don't try to redirect the flow to match the way you think things ought to be going, and don't try to make a happy camper of me. I have invited you here to watch, not to change me. Very, very simple equation.
Last night, we watched Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet (1996), and I discovered it's a much, much better film than I gave it credit for being when I saw it in the theater. I think, the first time I saw it, I simply didn't know how to watch it. Falling in love with Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! seems to have changed that. Anyway, it was sort of research for my Mars story. I may also mark yesterday as the day that I started smoking again. This happens every now and then, and it rarely lasts for very long. I have the apparently freakish ability to quit with no difficulty whatsoever. But the stress of the last few months made it pretty inevitable. Very late, we watched an episode of No Reservations, in which Anthony Bourdain made me want to eat all of New York City.
And here's something I thought I'd try. Deskscapes. Photos I took this morning of my workspace. This is pretty much what it looks like at the beginning of every day (a little dustier than usual):
The dodo and the platypus!
The little Cthulhu that squats atop my iMac, assuring me that I can make it through another day, because very soon, all humanity will die screaming.
All photographs Copyright © 2009 by Caitlín R. Kiernan.