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,