Nothing was written yesterday. Most of the day was spent trying to find a vignette. Still not sure whether or not I did. Also, I tried to work on the interview for Clarkesworld. You'll recall (or you won't) that back in the autumn I declared a moratorium on interviews, after having done a dozen or so relating to the release of The Red Tree. I thought that perhaps I was ready to begin giving interviews again. I may have been wrong. I answered the first question yesterday, and began the second...and suddenly it all sounded like bullshit, everything I'd said. The more I write, the older I get, the less interest I have in writing about how and why I write. The stories should speak for themselves. I do intend to finish this interview, but it will likely be my last for some time to come.
I slept almost eight hours again last night. I assume it's one of the new meds.
And I have this question, via email from Ron St. Pierre: "I know you do not write horror, but your stories give me a chill at times. I was re-reading my draft, and it gave me a chill. Is that how you know a story is working, when it really scares yourself?"
No. I can only think of a two or three times that I've written stories that frightened me. "Rats Live on No Evil Star," that one did. Perhaps also "La Peau Verte." But it's a very, very rare thing, when that happens. Which is hardly surprising, as I'm not trying to write stories that "scare" people (which is one of several reasons I say I'm not a "horror" writer). And even if a story were to frighten me, given the inherent subjectivity of fear, scaring myself would be no guarantee than anyone else would have the same reaction. Sometimes, when I am writing, there is a sort of frission, a certain intensity. When I feel that, I usually suspect that "a story is working." Well, for me, at least. There is never, ever any way to know that a story that works just fine for me will work for anyone else. No matter how desperately a writer may strive for mass appeal, or even appeal beyond him- or herself, the enterprise is too personal, too introverted, too subjective to ever know such a thing a priori. If others like it, you have on your hands a fortunate accident and nothing more. And there I was more articulate than my attempts to answer interview questions yesterday.
Last night, we watched the Coen Brothers' A Serious Man. Wow. An amazing, unnerving film. At least, we found it so. I expect many people watched the film and were simply baffled. I loved the prologue, it's encounter with a dybbuk on a snowy night. The remainder of the film builds towards a peculiar crescendo that interweaves the utterly inexplicable nature of the universe (or, if you prefer, "God"), Jewish American culture in the late 1960s/early 1970s, the story of Job, a sort of anti-nostalgia, the inscrutability of mankind, and an almost Fortean spite for anything like comprehension. The final shot...which I won't reveal...gave me chills. And the film is also quite funny, though, in the end, the laughs seem to add up to a very, very cruel joke. Very highly recommended.
And now, the day.