As of yesterday, it's been four years since I finished Daughter of Hounds, which I began writing in the autumn of 2004. This time last year, I'd just finished The Red Tree, late in October, and was working on a short story, "The Collier's Venus." And now, here I am trying to find my way into the Next Novel, which I probably "should" have begun writing back in June. But my novels come slowly. I seem to be good for about one every two years. Well, that depends what you count and what you don't. If we say I've written seven novels— which is what I'd say —they have been written over a period of seventeen years. Which is, what? A novel, on average, every 2.4 years. Which seems entirely reasonable to me, especially given that, since 1993, I've also written and sold something 175 short stories, novellas, comic scripts, and vignettes.
Yesterday, I didn't write. Yesterday was cold and windy grey, the clouds low and threatful. And we went to an afternoon matinée of Roland Emmerich's 2012. A stupid, stupid, stupid movie. But, it is enjoyable on a certain level, that level wherein I derive a perverse glee from seeing all human civilization reduced to ruin and rubble, while almost seven billion people die screaming in convulsions of fire and water. It was stupid, but it was pretty. Stupid and pretty. I found it painful watching John Cusack and Chiwetel Ejiofor trapped in the thing. At least John Cusack was allowed to be a bit lighthearted. Poor Ejiofor had to play the whole silly mess with a straight (and grim) face. I will say that Woody Harrelson was hilarious, and if only the film had given him a larger part, it would have been quite a bit more worthwhile. Has anyone else noticed that Emmerich keeps making the same film over and over and over, and that these films essentially adhere to a formula begun almost forty years ago, with Airport (1970) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972)? The last forty minutes or so of 2012 (the film was probably an hour too long, by the way) might almost be viewed as a cynical, hamfisted remake of George Pal's When World's Collide (1951). And did I mention this is a stupid film? No? I mean, it's like Emmerich hired a team of astrophysicists, planetologists, geologists, and engineers as consultants, then did exactly the opposite of whatever they advised. I was amused with Ebert giving the film 3.5 stars (out of 4), reasoning that "2012 delivers what it promises, and since no sentient being will buy a ticket expecting anything else, it will be, for its audiences, one of the most satisfactory films of the year." Yes, it's big, dumb fun. Just check your brain at the box office, or it won't be.
Last night, there was a fire in the house next door. Spooky and I heard an odd pop, and ten minutes or so later, the block was surrounded by fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances, and smoke was pouring from our neighbor's roof. We went downstairs. The night was cold and wet, and we watched the firemen and the chaos. It appears the fire was started by a faulty lamp short-circuiting, something like that. No one was hurt. All the pets were evacuated. Today, there's a truck pumping water out of the basement. My impression is that the damage from the fire was minimal, but the smoke and water damage must have been quite substantial. There are a few photos behind the cut:
View from a window in the front parlour.
All Photographs Copyright © 2009 by Caitlín R. Kiernan.