Time is moving so fast. It used to puzzle me, but now I think I understand it's a sort of psychological time dilation. When we're young, say when we're ten, then five years is 50% of our lives. When we're twenty, it drops off to 25%. When we're forty, five years has become a mere 12.5%, and so forth. The longer one lives, the briefer any given span of time is perceived as being. The mind actually makes the span of time seem shorter than it did at an early age. Or, it may be this is some actual property peculiar to the fabric of time, but, at the moment, my psychological hypothesis seems more parsimonious. And, realizing all this, that's often been my best argument against suicide (though I strongly believe suicide is everyone's right and a personal decision, and I say this having lost someone I loved to suicide). Time is moving fast, and it moves faster and faster the older we get. If you hate life, just hang on. It'll be over "soon."
Yesterday, I slogged through the more tiresome aspects of the process of getting the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir ready to go back to my editor. Which is to say, heading down the steep slopes of Mount Taediosus, reaching the talus, one encounters great thickets of greenbriers and kudzu vines. The descent is slowed. And so forth. And today, I am reduced to double checking, mostly proving the things I've quoted are in public domain, or that I have quoted short enough portions that my quotes constitute fair use. Sometimes, this turns into black comedy, such as, for example, where I quoted Dante's Divina Commedia, which was, of course, written in the early fourteenth century. Obviously, it's in the public domain. But not so fast! Because, I quote both the original Italian and an English translation. So, which English translation did I quote? Because translations are subject to copyright, which means translated lines of a fourteenth century poem may well be under copyright.
But when asked, "Which translation did you use?" My response is, "Fuck if I know." Turns out, I used the translation made by Allen Mandelbaum between 1980 and 1984. Very much still in copyright. This means I have to quote the English translation lines from a much older translation, likely Henry Francis Cary's, which was done between 1805-1814, and is long, long out of copyright (therefore, in "public domain"). And so on, and on, and on, and on.
Thankfully, sovay was kind enough to read through the ms. again with an eye to this very problem, plus my copyeditor caught many of them.
Also. After adding, over the last week, an additional ten thousand words or so to the "Back Pages" portion of the ms., I began to fear I'd broken the book in so doing. I emailed it to Peter Straub, and he read over it again for me yesterday. And, says he, yes, I broke it. Chop the new stuff out. Which I will do, because I respect his opinion as much as that of almost any living author. Besides, cutting the new text will make my editor happy. An author must never, ever be afraid to take scalpel to child.
Also, I signed the signature sheets to the Centipede Press Machen collection.
And that was my yesterday. Pretty much. Oh, we're getting into Season Two of Mad Men, and I still can't figure out why they made the jump from 1960 to 1962. But it was disorienting, and I didn't even catch on until the third episode or so. And we read. And we slept. But I did not sleep enough.