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listen to her rusty clockwork brain

Yesterday, the feared uselessness asserted itself almost full force. I did manage to get most of the boxes out of my office, but that was about it. Today, Spooky and I may flee out into The World, though the weather is drear (grey, foggy, rainy, cold). I've hardly left the new place since the move. I get like this. I will make a happy fossil. Perhaps I need the botanical gardens, a brief game of I'm not really here and it's not really December again. Or maybe we could just go to a bar. Or the library. Most likely, I won't go anywhere, because it's easier to sit here.

Repeat after me (come on, you know this one), A writer who does not write is nothing.

I've written nothing of consequence since finishing the prologue to Daughter of Hounds just before Halloween. Granted, I've had some pretty good excuses — Fiddler's Green in Minneapolis and then the three-week grind of moving from Kirkwood to here. But all that's past, and now I should write. And no excuse is presently good enough. Dying men and women have made better attempts to write than I've made the last week or so. The time to resume writing is long past. I'm not a lazy person. On more than one occasion, other authors with whom I am acquainted have called me a "workaholic" (I hate that word, as it assumes one can work too much, which is, prima facia, a damned silly idea). I'm not lazy. But, I am sometimes afflicted by this malaise, this self-perpetuating stillness. Winter is probably the worst. I look outside at the ugliness of Atlanta in December and can't imagine why I should write.

Except (repeat after me), A writer who does not write is nothing.

One may as well be a fisherman who doesn't fish, a stripper who doesn't strip, or a begger who doesn't beg.

Writers write. The rest — all that stuff that gets lumped together as "life" — is gravy. The rest is what we get because we were good and wrote like we were supposed to do.

And no, blogs don't count. Not at all. Not even a little bit.

(Of course, I will accept the corollary that there are some writers who ought not to write, i.e., who ought to be something other than writers. I will not name any of them. That would be crass. Sadly, few of them know who they are.)

Okay. Enough of that.

The current eBay auctions have been going well, and I very much appreciate that, as the costs of moving were not insubstantial. There would be more stuff up right now, but doing eBay via dial-up, what with all the "improvements" that have been made there the last few years, is, as stardustgirl recently commented, not unlike emptying a bathtub with a thimble. Anyway, as I've said, use "Buy It Now" and get a free copy of Nyarlathotep: The Crawling Chaos' Threshold-inspired CD, Our Thoughts Make Spirals in Their World, along with a monster doodle by me (one doodle per customer, until I'm sick of drawing them).

Oh, word from subpress is that the trade hardback edition of The Dry Salvages will be shipping beginning December 8th; the limited edition will ship as soon as the accompanying chapbook and CD are ready. There's still no word on exactly when the hardback of Low Red Moon will ship. For the hundreth time, I apologize to those of you who have been waiting so long for this book. It should be along later this month. At this point, the book's more than a year and a half late, I think.

Anyway, I'm gonna go do something. It'll probably be something instead of writing. Which is appropriate, as I feel about as solid as nothing on this drizzly afternoon.

Comments

( 18 comments — Have your say! )
docbrite
Dec. 7th, 2004 05:34 pm (UTC)
"workaholic" (I hate that word, as it assumes one can work too much, which is, prima facia, a damned silly idea)

Another good reason to hate it, and all cutesy "-holic" words, is that it is an idiotic perversion of language. The "-hol" in "alcoholic" is part of the word "alcohol." Ergo, a workaholic should be addicted to workahol, a chocoholic to chocohol, a sexaholic to sexahol, etc.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 7th, 2004 05:41 pm (UTC)
Another good reason to hate it, and all cutesy "-holic" words, is that it is an idiotic perversion of language. The "-hol" in "alcoholic" is part of the word "alcohol." Ergo, a workaholic should be addicted to workahol, a chocoholic to chocohol, a sexaholic to sexahol, etc.

"Sexaholic" especially bugs me. "Horny" is a perfectly good word.

And I hate how all this -holic newspeak seeks to medicalize/pathologize behaviours...
wishlish
Dec. 7th, 2004 09:06 pm (UTC)
Actually, I think there's a big difference between the meaning of the word "horny" (or "randy" or synonyms) and the implied meaning of "sexaholic". Horny is a transitive condition, whereas sexaholic implies addiction to sex or a more permanent condition. "Perpetually horny" probably works better.

And a writer who doesn't write isn't nothing. A writer who doesn't write is unemployed and dysfunctional, to be sure, but we are not defined solely by our productive output (except in an economic sense). When I was out of work, I supported my wife emotionally and physically. I helped my family out. I suspect that on days when you don't write, you do the same for Spooky. That doesn't mean you should excuse yourself for not writing when you book time to write, but it doesn't mean you should flagellate yourself either (then again...nah, I'm not going there.)

I'm not trying to kiss up or anything. I grind my teeth in anger when I meet people who define themselves solely on the basis of their work. Hell, as you've said yourself, blogging is not work, and yet you probably have done as much good with your blogging by explaining the travails of your life as you have through your work.

From reading your blog, I sense that the story is already in your head, not revealed by presence, not transparent, but rather a heavy presence, like a dragon to be slaughtered. You don't type the story, you slice away at the great beast, words formed by the dropping scales, the blood (yours and its), the offal, the exertion, the offal. Make sure you strengthen yourself for the battle ahead. I can't wait to see the corpse...er, read the book. (Watch that I've totally blown the analogy.)
greygirlbeast
Dec. 7th, 2004 10:37 pm (UTC)
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<<Actually, I think there's a big difference between the meaning of the word "horny" (or "randy" or synonyms) and the implied meaning of "sexaholic".>>

Bulldren.

<<Horny is a transitive condition>>

Speak for yourself, garda...

<<When I was out of work, I supported my wife emotionally and physically. I helped my family out. I suspect that on days when you don't write, you do the same for Spooky.>>

No, not really. Days that I don't write, I mope about and bitch and am generally such a pain in the ass that Spooky dreads those days. Just today, she was talking about how far behind she gets when I'm not writing.

<< but it doesn't mean you should flagellate yourself either>>

Don't knock flagellation.

<<I'm not trying to kiss up or anything. I grind my teeth in anger when I meet people who define themselves solely on the basis of their work.>>

I am a writer. It's mostly who I am. I am a conduit for all those stories and characters. I was other things, many years ago. Now, I'm a writer. And I very much define myself by my work. That's who I am. I think it's entirely more reasonable for me to do this than, say, for a CPA to do the same (but if he or she feels so motivated, more power to them).

And a writer who is not writing is, for the moment, useless.

<i>From reading your blog, I sense that the story is already in your head, not revealed by presence, not transparent, but rather a heavy presence, like a dragon to be slaughtered. You don't type the story, you slice away at the great beast, words formed by the dropping scales, the blood (yours and its), the offal, the exertion, the offal. Make sure you strengthen yourself for the battle ahead. I can't wait to see the corpse...er, read the book.</i>

This part I kinda like. But you need to not insist to a grumpy, distracted, feeling supremely uselss writer that she may be many other useful things. It isn't true, and it only adds to the annoyance.
wishlish
Dec. 7th, 2004 10:59 pm (UTC)
"It isn't true, and it only adds to the annoyance."

Fair enough.

"Don't knock flagellation."

I once had a friend in college, my first friend who was openly gay (damn I lived a sheltered childhood in suburbia), who would whip himself constantly with a keychain that had a leather whip on the end. His wrist would turn purple while you were talking to him. He also kept a journal of the number of times he mastrubated in a day. (He was especially proud of the double-digit days.)

He was really the first person that got through to my thick skull that I could inadvertently offend someone without meaning to. One day, we were eating lunch in the cafeteria, and he looked especially dour. I asked what was up, and he said, "The next time someone offers you [head], don't be so rude in turning it down." I hadn't even realized he had ever offered it to me. (I still would have said no, but I would have been nice about it! Never be rude to someone offering you sexual favors, even if you don't want them.)

Ah, college...
greygirlbeast
Dec. 7th, 2004 11:19 pm (UTC)
I once had a friend in college, my first friend who was openly gay (damn I lived a sheltered childhood in suburbia), who would whip himself constantly with a keychain that had a leather whip on the end.

Personally, I prefer leather. But whatever.

Never be rude to someone offering you sexual favors, even if you don't want them.

Wiser words were never spoken.
cricketshay
Dec. 7th, 2004 05:38 pm (UTC)
A writer who does not write is nothing. I love it. I think I will have to repeat it over and over to myself until it sinks in and I finish my current WIP. Thank you. (I found your journal through friends and added you. I hope you don't mind!!)
stardustgirl
Dec. 7th, 2004 06:12 pm (UTC)
RE: the "-holic" stuff.... by medicalizing things, then they can sell you a pill or a treatment for it. It becomes a wrong thing, which requires a cure. A problem in need of a solution. Have you noticed how many things have been marketed lately with the word "solution" in there somewhere? Don't get me started.

I'm curious - where would your ideal winter location be? Atlanta is a good bit less wintery than my own location, but I know it's far from a tropic zone, and given the amount of concrete in that city (it seems to jump out at me) I can see where grey is an issue.

greygirlbeast
Dec. 7th, 2004 10:28 pm (UTC)
I'm curious - where would your ideal winter location be?

Honestly, I don't know. I'm not fond of the tropics, but otherwise I get winter, with which I deal poorly. Presently, I have no ideal location.

The whole Nebari Prime being a frozen world thing — that irony has not escaped me.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 7th, 2004 10:47 pm (UTC)
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<<RE: the "-holic" stuff.... by medicalizing things, then they can sell you a pill or a treatment for it. It becomes a wrong thing, which requires a cure. A problem in need of a solution. Have you noticed how many things have been marketed lately with the word "solution" in there somewhere? Don't get me started.>>

Right now, I'm especially amused and disturbed by "disorders" like SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) and AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder). The pharmeceutical companies and people who work for the pharmeceutical companies, scientists who rely on those corps. for jobs, grant money, etc., fabricate "disorders." It's very, very lucrative. And in this society, obsessed as it is with the medical model, it's almost effortless to convince people that perfectly normal shyness is SAD and that absent-minded, disorganized people with poor concentration skills suffer from AADD. It's bulldren. Personality traits become pathologies to be "treated" with dubious psychoactive drugs. And the placebo effects are often so profound (a fact manufacturers and scientists are well aware of) that of <i>course</i> the "medicines" have a high success rate. In a society that places so much faith in technology, even though it places very little in the science that <i>produces</i> technology, convincing well people that they're sick and that they can be "cured" or their "conditions" "managed" with drugs is as easy as selling SUVs and wide-screen televisions.
tagplazen
Dec. 7th, 2004 11:31 pm (UTC)
You catch 60 Minutes this week? ADD and the six question tests was one of the segments. The pharmacutical ads crack me up, remember the good old days when people had to read Dianetics to find out why they were screwed up? Now, you just take a pill. ;-) There's another new drug floating around where the ad shows cubicle dwellers in fatigue, "Do you ever feel tired? Do you need just a little more energy to get through the day?" Can't remember the name the pharm company gave that one, but I seem to remember that being called meth when the Germans and Japanese first started using it.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 8th, 2004 02:10 am (UTC)
You catch 60 Minutes this week? ADD and the six question tests was one of the segments. The pharmacutical ads crack me up, remember the good old days when people had to read Dianetics to find out why they were screwed up? Now, you just take a pill. ;-)

Didn't see the 60 Minutes bit, but yeah. I love the way that, on the one hand, we wage a "war" on "illicit" drugs, but, on the other hand, we've discovered that this stressed-out, frelled-up, corporate-driven, over-populated society functions a lot better on prescription drugs that provide the same effects as many of the illegal drugs. Can't have pot, but here, have some nice, calming Valium. And beer. And cigarettes. And anything else that big business can market and make assloads of money off, anything that hasn't yet been overly stigmatized by anti-drug crusaders.

Getting high is bad, unless the doctor says so.

And are we supposed to believe that there's no connection between the growing corporate need for increased productivity and all these expensive pharmeceuticals that make productivity in unhealthy corporate enviroments more feasible?

Okay. I'm ranting...
stardustgirl
Dec. 8th, 2004 01:46 am (UTC)
I agree with that. It also seems to tie in with the emphasis on "benefits" in jobs today. I'm aware of people who are in jobs they hate, no doubt contributing to their need for stress meds, who cannot fathom living without them. Wasn't insurance supposed to be for big catastrophic rare things? It's become some lifestyle-maintenance controlling thing. I can see a day where people head off to their corporate gigs and never see money. In exchange for their lives they'll get food rations, drug rations, and company housing and transportation. And the proposed mental health screening freakiness is surreal. All of us creative types are definitely going to be labeled bipolar. How long until it becomes a crime not to take your goverment-mandated in-the-name-of-security pills? Oops.... just got paranoid added on to my bipolar, didn't I? Pass the drugs, please......
lady_lillith
Dec. 7th, 2004 09:49 pm (UTC)
Oh dear! You ought to get out of the house sometime today or tomorrow, and then report back about it. Please do it if only to serve as a role model for anxiety-ridden homebodies like myself.

By the way, I read MoA last month. 'Twas excellent! Best wishes for your upcoming 20,000 words. :-)
jacobluest
Dec. 8th, 2004 03:17 pm (UTC)
If I may...
Sitting here, pencil in hand,
tapping eraser on paper--
the desperate percussion
of shoes down an empty hallway.
Looking for that lightning,
that glimmer of divinity,
that dancing spark of genius.

Some people’s pencils
tap ‘til they shatter,
tap ‘til all that’s left is
a pile of ordinary dust.
Some people get up
and walk from the table,
perhaps to do something
sensible
productive
labors pleasant but not made
to resist Time’s hammer-fall.

We that stay seek that magic substance,
the spark that imbues our lead and ink,
making it stronger than
crumbling pyramid, rusty skyscraper.
Transforming us
from hamsters in a spinning wheel
into something noble, purposeful.
Turning mere letters
from cold grammar and rigid form
to a world of meaning and beauty.

We are all blind-men
searching for the sunrise
We are all deaf-men
searching for hidden birdsong
We are all mute-men
seeking a tongue to give us voice.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 8th, 2004 04:17 pm (UTC)
Re: If I may...
Nice.
__hecate__
Dec. 8th, 2004 04:29 pm (UTC)
Does resetting your brain work? Say for instance an Absinthe binge. Or misdirection like taking Spooky on a day-trip.
Or is there a constant need/longing to write even in those situations so the desired "clean slate" don't appear?
greygirlbeast
Dec. 8th, 2004 04:34 pm (UTC)
Does resetting your brain work? Say for instance an Absinthe binge. Or misdirection like taking Spooky on a day-trip.

Sometimes, if I can actually manage to clear my head for a while and not think about the fact that I'm not writing. I find it's a lot like insomnia. The more you lie in bed and try to sleep, the worse it gets. But, conversely, it's easy to pretend that you're hitting reset when you're really just goofing off, avoiding writing.
( 18 comments — Have your say! )