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"Hello Silence, my old friend..."

One year ago today, I wrote this in the LJ:

Back in September, thereabouts, there was a day when I finally sat down with Kathryn, and we talked, and I made the decision that I would never write a another novel. We worked out a remotely feasible way to bring in enough money with me only doing short fiction, novellas, and Sirenia Digest. It was a for-sure thing. There was a profound sense of relief, and it lasted maybe a month. I can only imagine it was like fighting in a war for fifteen years, and suddenly finding out there had been a truce. Not victory, but at least a truce.

Then, on November 1st, I sat down and began writing
The Drowning Girl. On November 2nd, I wrote in the blog, "Yesterday, I wrote an impressive 1,664 words on Chapter One of The Drowning Girl. This is the first time I've had the nerve to go back to work on the novel since August 4th. I scrapped everything I wrote this summer and started over again. But, I think I have finally found the voice of this novel."

And, then, yesterday, after only a little more than four months, I finished the book, the one that originally occurred to me way back in August 2009, on a hot, sunny day at the Peace Dale Public Library, and that tried very, very hard not ever to be written. There might still be a weird sort of an epilogue to do, and there might not. But the book is essentially written. Imp has told her ghost story, which is both a mermaid story and a werewolf story, but really is neither of those things. I cried twice yesterday, when it was done.

I'll do a quick polish and send it to my editor sometime between now and Monday, and it should be out next spring. And yes, this will be my last "adult" novel for a while. What I do, the way I write, regardless of how popular or unpopular what I write may be, it messes me up to do it. As I told Neil a week ago, I want to just spend a few years telling stories. A little less public self evisceration. Well, except for the digest, which will stay the same. The digest won't change. And the stuff I write for anthologies, that won't change, either. Mostly, the novels.

And it truly is the best novel I've ever written, by a long shot.



Huzzah, indeed. I had no idea how wonderful would be reader reaction to The Drowning Girl. In fact, until Peter Straub read it and compared it to William Faulkner, I was pretty sure I'd written this huge sheaf of utter shit. I did go back and add "a weird sort of an epilogue," the "Back Pages" section.

But reading that old entry this ayem, it was sort of sobering. On the one hand, I'm genuinely grateful I didn't give up on The Drowning Girl. On the other hand, the stuff I said to Neil still stands. I've had a couple of talks with my psychiatrist about it, and the toll that The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl took on me. So. Instead, I'm writing Dancy and my short stories and the Siobhan Quinn novels (the antiParaRom "werepire" trilogy beginning with Blood Oranges) and The Dinosaurs of Mars, but I'm going to hold off a couple of years on additional self evisceration. Not because I am weak. But because I am strong. Because those two books, living through the writing of those two books and the toll they took on me, has made me this much stronger. If you write, and it doesn't draw mental blood and leave scars on your mind, if it causes you no discomfort, "you're doing it wrong" (in the parlance in our times).

I just got an email from my agent, who'd just read the Tor.com review that Brit Mandelo wrote (and that I will treasure always), and she – my agent, Merrilee – wrote me, "The first time I read this manuscript I hoped it would get the kind of reaction we are now getting, because I knew it deserved it."

All for now. I will leave you with this surreal tidbit: "Pat Robertson Says Marijuana Use Should be Legal". I quote:

“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Mr. Robertson said in an interview on Wednesday. “I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.”

When even madmen and zealots speak the truth...

Lost in Thought,
Aunt Beast


( 11 comments — Have your say! )
Mar. 8th, 2012 06:35 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's something I'd never expect from Robertson. *is quietly boggled*

Mar. 8th, 2012 07:02 pm (UTC)
Hi Aunt B. I can't top Brit's review, but Sonya recommended I tell you what I said to her: that I might have to re-read TDG straightaway, and that I was reluctant to pick up another book for fear of ruining the aftertaste.

Truly, I think it's your best novel, and I'd like to thank you for it.

- Ash
Mar. 8th, 2012 10:11 pm (UTC)
I have purchased it twice:) as I got paid today. One real copy and one for the reader. I don't dare look at it until after work tomorrow for there is a definite risk of me staying up all night reading.
Mar. 8th, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on an amazing novel and all of the (very well-deserved) great reviews! I finished TDG in a mad swoop last night and it totally took over my brain until I had river water leaking out my ears. I loved the characters, Abalyn in particular, and I look forward to re-reading it - I have a feeling it's going to be a different book each time I read it.

Congratulations and thank you.
Mar. 8th, 2012 10:51 pm (UTC)
Ms. Merrilee speaks the truth.
Mar. 9th, 2012 02:32 am (UTC)
I was up until midnight reading this marvelous and unsettling book. I'm afraid to go back to it, and I'm afraid not to. It's bringing up the haunts in my own life. Thank you for writing the book you were haunted into writing.
Mar. 9th, 2012 02:40 am (UTC)
Faulkner is an apt comparison. I missed the reading at the Brown bookstore, but my friend who made it on time bought a copy for me (thank you for signing it). I started reading it after I got home from having dinner with her, kept reading until my eyes started to cross from sleep, and picked it up again almost the moment I woke up. It reads like a fever dream, lovely and grotesque. Thank you.
Mar. 9th, 2012 05:14 am (UTC)
So glad the book is being so well received. I'll be buying it, though I have to wait a couple weeks until payday. Agh! It's out and I can't get my hands on it yet. Patience....

I do have to tell you something, though. I'm looking forward to reading it, yet dreading it, too, because of the darkness or hauntedness there. But I have to get through it, take the journeys that you lead us on. I'm not being clear, I know, but it's difficult to put into words.

Anyway, thanks in advance for the experience.
Mar. 9th, 2012 10:21 am (UTC)
You can't really write anything halfways decent without hurting yourself, can you?

Not you - as in you specifically cannot, but quality is actually dependent on self-evisceration.

I think I need to learn this.
Jenny Valentine
Mar. 9th, 2012 12:57 pm (UTC)
I'm reading The Drowning Girl slowly, enjoying it like a good meal. I've been trying to describe the writing style to myself, and I came up with "stream of self-consciousness". I love it!
Mar. 10th, 2012 08:09 pm (UTC)
I'm days behind on reading LJ because I've been doing the tourist thing for friends who are in Austin for SXSW.

I got Book People's last copy of The Drowning Girl on Thursday (it was prominently displayed on their New Release wall), and I'm hoping by tomorrow I'll actually have time to sit down and start reading it.
( 11 comments — Have your say! )