As for yesterday, it was a mad blur of line editing, the sort that makes me scream and curse and wish I'd chosen just about any other career than fiction writing. I shifted to working on The Drowning Girl, and Sonya and Kathryn took over Two Worlds and In Between. I'm not entirely sure who drew the short straw there, but I suspect it was Kathryn and Sonya. We worked for about seven hours. I didn't stop until sometime after ten p.m. I managed the "last" edits on the novel, the last before it goes to my editor. Which I intend it to do tomorrow, after I make a few more little tucks and tweaks.
Sonya and Spooky picked their way through "Andromeda Among the Stones," "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6," "Night Story 1973," "Les Fleurs Empoisonnées,” "Onion,” "The Road of Pins," and "Spindleshanks (New Orleans, 1956)." Which leaves about eight stories to go, and, I'm sorry to say they're some of the most heavily edited, as they're the oldest. Also, I think I may pull "By Turns," and replace it with "Giants in the Earth." The latter really needs the reader to be familiar with Micheal Moorcock's The Dancers at the End of Time sequence. But it's vastly better written than "By Turns," which suffers from...well, lots of things. But mostly "By Turns" suffers from me committing the heinous crime of writing about a romanticized South that never existed, which I've rarely ever done. You do not romanticize, not ever. It's the first thing a "Southern writer" learns.
Regardless, Sonya very, very kindly agreed to stay over one more night, and we're about to make a huge push to get through the rest of Two Worlds and In Between. Well, except for The Dy Salvages, and that's another thirty-thousand+ words Spooky and I have to get to later this week. But we're exhausted, sleep deprived, and nerves are on edge. This shit takes its toll.
I cannot imagine what it would be like to be an author who simply writes a short story, and never, ever goes back and revises it. Many of the stories in Two Worlds and In Between have been revised four and five times since their initial publication, revised to varying degrees before each and every publication. All at least once or twice. And I don't mean rewritten. I mean heavily revised. But I intend this to be the very last fucking time. Ever.
About midnight last night, after I'd had a hot bath and we were all trying to wind down and get sleepy, I showed Sonya Alex Proyas' Dark City (1998), and I'm just going to quote her post from earlier this morning, because it was very cogent, and I need to wrap this up. So, from sovay:
"At the very beginning of tonight's movie, I said to Caitlín, 'I'm glad to see this director likes German Expressionism.' Near the very end, I said, 'That is the best film I have ever seen about the process of apotheosis.' Both of these statements are true; neither is going to convey how much I liked Dark City (1998), which begins like a solid little film noir and ends like Gnosticism. And of course it recalls Metropolis (1927) and M (1930) and Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari (1920) and even some films that aren't in German, chiefly Jeunet and Caro's Delicatessen (1991) and La Cité des enfants perdus (1995), but I am not sure I had ever before seen a street scene simultaneously evoke Franz Kafka and Edward Hopper and you know, they're a natural fit. I can't imagine how the theatrical cut was supposed to work. I've had it explained to me, but I still can't imagine it; I don't know what it is about thoughtful science fiction that makes studios want to tack on idiotic voiceovers, but I hope it's not some kind of actual, contractually-obliged law. And even if one could make a convincing case that the central mystery of Dark City is less compelling than the characters' actions once they figure it out, I still can't figure out why any of the deleted scenes were, because one of the neatest things about the film as it stands is its three-dimensionality, the sense that any of its characters, John, Emma, Bumstead, Schreber, even Mr. Hand, might be the protagonist: and so, by turns, they all are. Take out certain lines, conversations, even reaction shots, that depth of field is lost. God, I bet this is how you jinx a movie, taking Fritz Lang as your model. At least Alex Proyas didn't have to wait eighty-plus years for the restoration.
...It's mostly the hair, and a little of the cheekbones, and the eyes, but I kept looking at Rufus Sewell as John Murdoch and being reminded of Michael Cisco. This comparison may haunt me for years. Then again, any film that contained multiple shout-outs to Daniel Paul Schreber's Memoirs of My Nervous Illness (1903) would probably remind me of Michael Cisco all by itself. I still wonder if this explains anything about the world."
Okay, kittens. Back to the special hell of words.
In Perpetual Exhaustion,
(And remember, I AM NOT A HORROR WRITER!)