Last night, I spread all my issues of The Dreaming about on the bed and read a few of them, knowing there's at least some chance I'll be asked about my work on the book this weekend. I'd honestly forgotten the story. All that stuff about Echo being the Corinthian's foil, the Corinthian being banished and hanging out in Bangkok, the houses of Secret and Mystery possessing Echo and leading a rebellion against Dream to find a missing secret/mystery, Lucien and Christina and William Yeats, Matthew asking Dream to keep the facts of his death a secret from Lucien, and on and on and on. And realizing that I'd forgotten all this, realizing why I'd forgotten all this, made me very sad. That's the best word I can find for what I felt (though it is not wholly adequate) — sad. I believe I forgot these characters and this story, allowing a sort of amnesia to overtake me, very soon after I finished the script for #60, and I think I forgot mostly out of a sort of self-defence. I was so exhausted at the end. And, still, I knew how much I'd miss these people. I knew I might never get to write them again. I knew how differently things had played out with the book than I'd wished them to play out (for the uninitiated, I asked to end The Dreaming @ #50, but I was persuaded to stay on to #100, but then, a year later, Vertigo decided to stop the book at #65, and then, after I'd laid out the ending, to stop at #60). Knowing how many people who'd read the Sandman rejected The Dreaming because it wasn't Sandman: The Next Generation, or because Neil wasn't writing it, or because there were a couple of gothedy characters, or because of queer characters, or because the story concerned the supporting cast of The Sandman instead of The Endless, or because I killed Matthew, or because readers thought I was "too dark" or thought my style too "self-consciously artsy" or what-the-frell-ever. It was easier to just forget it all, and that's what I did. I just didn't know that I'd forgotten, not until last night.
An author should never, ever forget her stories, her characters. It's obscene. It's like the gods forgetting their creations. That's exactly what it's like, actually (of course, maybe they did forget, and hence...). Even when she knows how difficult remembering will be, it's wrong.
Three years and almost six months after the last issue of The Dreaming was published, how do I feel about all this? I guess that's what I'm going to Minneapolis to figure out.
But I know one thing — those people who wouldn't read the book, they missed out on a hell of a good story, if I do say so myself. And I do.
Okay. Whatever. I can talk about this at Fiddler's Green, maybe.
Last night, at the proverbial last minute, I was seized with the urge to go out and get two new sweaters, a cap and gloves for Spooky, and a new cell phone. The new cell phone is cool (my old one died at Dragon*Con, and I haven't felt like replacing it). I can play Tetris on it. But I didn't get one of those camera/VCR phones. I'm just not ready for that. Maybe next time. Of course, by then cell phones will be chewing our food and wiping out butts.
My grateful thanks to the people who offered their condolences and thoughts regarding Silk. The things you say mean a lot to me, that the book was able to touch so many of you so deeply. That means it did what I made it to do. I can fairly ask no more than that. Here's one of the e-mails:
Thought I'd drop you a line to let you know that "Silk" (damn mailer won't let me italicize) has been my favorite of your novels. As well as MOA, of course, you can't have one without the other. Which I guess brings up a good, rhetorical question: How can you...?
Anyway, thought I'd share a little bit of my disappointment with you. Misery loves company, yadda, yadda, yadda. Chin up, kid - the second print will be dripping with gorgeous illustrations and the kids will snatch it up like Halloween candy.
Have fun in Minneapolis, and good luck with the shit shuffling.
Thank you, Kristen. And don't worry. I'm becoming a First-Class Shit Shuffler.
This morning's news pollution is that Yasser Arafat is dead. That's sort of a mind-frell. I mean, he's been news most of my life. Fewer men have stood as a shining example of the duality of heroism. One man's hero is another man's villian. No good deed goes undamned by someone, no holy crusade will not be judged infernal by many. Was he a good man or a bad man? Depends, in part, on whether you're Palestinian, I suppose.
Okay. That's about it for today. I'm leaving the iBook at home this trip (I don't trust it to airport security), so it's doubtful there will be another entry until we return Sunday night. But never fear, that's sooner than you think...