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the hedgehog of ignorance

Yeah, so maybe there are other writers who can spend the first part of the day enjoying a warm January afternoon and running around getting dren done, but I'm categorically not one of them. I've spent too many years doing this writing thing exactly the same way, day after day after day. I have a routine. The routine is, obviously, inflexible. After dealing with e-mail and such yesterday morning, Spooky and I got lunch at Fellini's, went by a hardware store to get some stuff for the kitchen, and, shortly after that, returned home where I tried to go back to work on Chapter Two of Daughter of Hounds. I did an astoundingly measley 129 words and gave up. My head was just entirely too full of the earlier part of the day to focus on the keyboard, the story, the characters who demand every ounce of my attention. Today will go better. Today I will do more than a thousand words, easy (watch the bravada there, lady, you'll get your ass kicked).

I may have found a legitimate reason (that is, a reason suitable to my own peculiar need for convincing) to read books about other authors' lives. In the Shirley Jackson biography, Private Demons, I'm finding little bits here and there that make me feel not so alone in the particulars of my work, seeing that another writer shares this or that peculiarity. For example:

Shirley indicated to her students that her own writing tended to flow out almost automatically, without much conscious planning. Once, after reading several pages of a work in progress, she stopped suddenly. "I can't tell you what happens next, because I haven't gone any further," she said.

and

...she rarely remembered anything she had written. "I can read my own books in print the way I read and reread old books from my childhood; I can remember more passages from Jane Eyre than I can from any of my books."

While we were in Birmingham last week, Spooky and I drove past the apartment building on Southside that I used as the model for the building where Sadie Jasper is living in Low Red Moon. The side of the building in which I'd located Sadie's second-story apartment was a charred ruin. I think my heart actually, literally, skipped a beat. Sometimes, I dislike meaningful coincidence. I'll not say more, for fear of spreading about spoilers — some people reading this may one day read Low Red Moon, those who have yet to do so. But it was a shock. Besides, many years ago, in my misbegotten twenties, we used to have raucous drug parties in that very apartment, and there's a certain, admittedly questionable, emotional attachment to the place. I must strive to be careful about burning "real world" buildings in my stories. I'm still getting the hang of this whole cause and effect thing. So far, there's been no fire, to my knowledge, along Cullom Street to match the one at the end of Murder of Angels.

This morning , Leh'agvoi (alias Setsuled) e-mailed me storyboards for the Nar'eth "winter special" manga. It's looking drad. I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, please have a look at our eBay autions (a good cause, the restoration of Spooky's molar). Things are going well with the "one of a kind" ARC from my editing of The Dry Salvages, but we'd like to see it go a lot weller. Thanks.

Comments

( 11 comments — Have your say! )
sethanikeem
Jan. 13th, 2005 05:09 pm (UTC)
If it's any consolation, my writing zone is about as inflexible as yours. I have a certain space, I have a preferred time, and conditions have to be just right (meaning extraneous noise from the family must be at a minimum; even if the cats get too clingy it can throw me off.)

There are those rare times when the muse seizes me and demands that I spit something out -- but when it comes to the nitty-gritty work, I need as controlled an environment as possible or very little will happen beyond me staring at the screen.

--M
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC)
There are those rare times when the muse seizes me

Any muse touches me and I'll break her paws.
wishlish
Jan. 13th, 2005 05:35 pm (UTC)
After reading Neil's Calliope story, I don't think muses are the seizers; they are the seized. I think that story is one of the best stories I've ever read.

You know, you should inventory all the buildings you've set fire to in your books, buy them, and insure them for twice their value.

I never attended a drug party. If I had, I'd be the loser who brought Benadryl and aspirin. Sometimes sobriety sucks. Like right now- I threw out my back this morning. I'd kill a man for some really good painkillers. Of course, I know no martial arts, and the only weapons in range are a half-full bottle of Coca-Cola and my iPod, so he'd have to be really easy to kill, but then again, he'd have killer painkillers, so he's probably in poor physical shape, so I'd have a chance.

Sorry for rambling. This day has truly sucked. Any day where you give the finger and call someone a f***ing idiot before 8:30 AM isn't a good day.

happyspector
Jan. 13th, 2005 06:58 pm (UTC)
There's a time I'd have vehemently disagreed with you. Then I read the Rolling Stone Quentin Tarrantino interview where he talks of Uma as his muse (and David Carrodine's observations of such), and I realized he has the right idea.
sfmarty
Jan. 14th, 2005 03:53 am (UTC)
Yesssss.
iliadawry
Jan. 13th, 2005 06:14 pm (UTC)
This is completley unrelated to your entry, but I cannot say it's off-topic because it relates to buying your books.

The Dry Salvages is still available from Amazon -- I had been panicking about not being able to get a copy, and scraped together the money to order that this morning, and it's now in that stage where they definitely have it and it's likely sitting in a box with my name on it, just in case any of your readers were, like me, too poor to preorder or order right when it came out.
happyspector
Jan. 13th, 2005 06:59 pm (UTC)
Really? I recall some time earlier you speaking of reading Lovecraft's letters.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 13th, 2005 08:07 pm (UTC)
I recall some time earlier you speaking of reading Lovecraft's letters.

I didn't say that I've never read an author's bio before. I've read a great deal about Lovecraft, a little about Machen, Poe, Yeats, James Joyce. But it's nothing I do on a regular basis.
happyspector
Jan. 13th, 2005 10:13 pm (UTC)
My bad (probably anyway, as usual ;-P)
chocolatebird
Jan. 14th, 2005 03:11 am (UTC)
No fires, but when I lived on Cullom Street two years ago there was a house destroyed by a tree and a bomb threat. Of course, our bathroom had a sewage explosion but that's another type of disaster altogether.
sfmarty
Jan. 14th, 2005 03:52 am (UTC)
My Daughter in law posted this in her LJ. Unhappily it is too true.

http://chronicle.com/free/v51/i19/19b00501.htm
( 11 comments — Have your say! )