Autumn seems to have come to Providence. Spooky assures me this is not the case. But the highs are in the 70sF, the lows in the 60s and 50s, and the sky has that vacant autumnal blue.
Yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest #56 ready and out the "door." I hope people are pleased with it. Part Two of "The Yellow Alphabet" is already coming together in my head.
Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. "The Black Alphabet" chapbook goes off this afternoon. Thank you.
There's a grand review of The Ammonite Violin & Others in the new issue of Locus (my thanks to Bev Vincent for sending it my way, and to Curt Jarrell for the heads-up). So, the book got glowing reviews from all the biggies (of those that will bother with it).
A couple of quick announcements. First, last night I agreed to appear as a guest at the 2010 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, OR (I think the dates are September 30th-October 3rd). This will be my first trip to Portand, and my first trip to the West Coast since October/November 1998. We're still ironing out the details, but it looks like a done deal. Second announcement, Bill Schafer at subpress has agreed that The Dry Salvages (2004) will be included in the "Best of CRK" volume. That's 30,600 words of a 200k-word book I don't have to worry about. And, on the subject of this volume, I received an email from John Glover, who writes:
It's my hope that when you are considering the ToC for the volume that you do not put too strong an emphasis on your most recent work. You have often blogged about your declining opinion of your early work, frustration with the "compounderations," etc., but I hope you will keep in mind that your early work was distinctive, unlike the rest of what most other writers were doing in the 1990s, and it attracted attention for that reason. That those early stories may seem painfully young (?) to you now is not the same thing as them being of low quality. "Persephone" is a effective, evocative, affecting story, and the same could be said of many of your early published stories.
I have often been frustrated, generally speaking, by lists or anthologies or summative essays that claim to cover the "best" of an author, genre, or whatever...and almost always seem to be focused on the now. My copy of The Ammonite Violin arrived a couple days ago, and I am very much enjoying it, but from what I've read thus far, I don't feel that the stories contained in it could be said to speak for all of your work; it speaks of what you've been writing in recent years.
I think I can see the outlines of why you might say Ammonite Violin, and your most recent work in various formats, is the best example of what you are trying to do as an author -- but by the same token, 14 years stand between "Persephone" and The Red Tree, and those years are replete with good stories. They might not, as you look back on them, be exactly what you were trying to do, and they may reflect your changes and growth as a writer, but I don't think any artist ever attains anything she will actually consider perfection when the work is viewed in retrospect. There's always a wart, or an adverb out of place, or one too many compounderations; those are the charms of the work as it was made.
So often artists talk about what they are interested in the moment, and seem to show little interest in where they were 5-10-however-many years before. The unstated sentiment behind that, I think, is that their old work is somewhere between inert and dead to them. Sometimes they actively revile it (witness: Anne Rice). I don't think there's anything wrong with that, in so far as it bears on what *is* happening in the moment--creating new work--but when taking the long view? Not so much. Sirenia Digest has obviously been a great place for you to experiment and write some less traditionally marketable work, but I see it as only one part of your work -- it doesn't have as much of the South, the overtly deep time of Threshold, the Gothic of ToPaW, etc. -- all of which should be represented in any Best-of-Caitlín-R.-Kiernan volume. (In my opinion, of course, which may not be shared by you or by other readers.)
To which I say, no need to worry, John. Well, not about this, anyway (but I'll say more later).