Yesterday, I did not do 4,000 words. I did not even do 1,500 words. I did do 1,222 on Chapter One of Daughter of Hounds, which is fine. That's better than average for me, better than the requisite 1,000 words. But it was the sort of writing that left me feeling empty and angry and sadistic, the sort of writing that makes me wonder why the hell I do it this way, why I write about these things. In theory, I have the freedom to take characters anywhere I choose, to subject them to an almost inifinte range of experience and emotion, and yet my choices — if that's what they are — are unfailingly grim. And then sometimes, like yesterday, I look at what I've done to someone fictional, what I've spent hours doing to them with exquisite, exacting care, and I just want to say, okay, enough's enough already, goddamn it. A writing day has not done me so much harm since I wrote the end of Low Red Moon. Why? Why in the name of all that is supposed to be holy (but clearly isn't) do I do this to myself? If my own demons aren't out by now, they're in there for good. Am I so deluded as to think that I'm doing it for anyone else? No, I'm not. So, I have no answer, except for the rather chilling possibility that perhaps this is all I have in me to write. It's all that can come out, for whatever reason. Today, I'd like to take Deacon and Emmie Silvey to a beach on a warm summer day. She could play in the surf and the sand. Sadie would be there, and for a while Deacon wouldn't think about Chance, and Sadie wouldn't think about that night in Birmingham, and Emmie could just be a child. If I were free, if there were choices here, that's what I'd do. And it wouldn't be an interlude before more darkness and despair. It would just be. It would be a thing whole unto itself.
I'm not kidding, and I'm not being hyperbolic — sometimes I hate this thing I do more than I could ever say. Sometimes, it seems that I spend my days dragging people whose only crime is that I am their creator through the filth and pain and degradation of my own despicable imagination. Where is the good in this? Where is the resolution? Where is the sense of it? If I had even a scintilla of belief in a "higher" intelligence of any sort, days like yesterady (and, by extension, today) would, on the one hand, give me some degree of sympathy for the idiot dieties unable to craft a better universe, and, on the other hand, it makes me grateful I have no such beliefs, because the anger I would have for that "higher" whatever would be inexpressable. And I cannot imagine that there are actually people out there — self-professed "horror" writers — who are trying to ellicit these emotions in others, who are purposefully driving their characters on through all the futile, dead-end nightmares that might be devised. I would not do this. I swear I would not do this, if I could find other words in me.
I need another 1,000 words today. That's the price of getting to tomorrow, when I have to make another 1,000 words of the same.
Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost.
Is that what this is all about?
Agent Smith could almost be my god-form.
There's a nice little review of The Dry Salvages in today's San Francisco Chronicle. It's mostly synopsis, which always disappoints me because I'd like to imagine people get more from what I write than story and that reviewers are savvy enough to relay deeper meanings, but, still, it's a nice review.
I have to start writing now, if I want to finish before sunset. I try to finish before sunset, because it's disorienting to walk out of my office (where all the windows are blacked out) and see that night has come without me even noticing. I have to not allow the cold to distract me too much today. Lately, I've been reflecting on the significance, if any, of my having instinctually chosen an ice-bound planet as the Nebari homeworld (that wasn't anywhere in Farscape) and denizens thereof as my totemic alter-egos, and if, perhaps, I might find in that choice some relief from the distress that the winter brings me every year.