The cold is coming back. High twenties tomorrow night. I wish I could find a way not to dread the cold. I've gone ahead and made preparations for the return of the mammoths, musk oxen, and whatever Pleistocene stragglers they might bring along with them. I have grown very weary of their all-night poker games.
I have some details about the erotica volume. There will be two editions from Subterranean Press, a trade and a limited. The trade will be clothbound with an embossed cover instead of a dust jacket (rather old-fashioned; I've been wanting to do a book like this for ages). The trade printing will be 500-600 copies. The numbered limited edition will be bound in leather and probably consist of no more than 150-200 copies. A copy of this edition will be reserved for every participant in the LJ poll, if she or he should wish to purchase one (and it doesn't matter if you answered "yes" or "no"). The trade will likely be priced at $20, the limited at $45. Both editions will be signed and illustrated. There might be one vignette in the limited that isn't included in the trade (maybe). I'll be signing the contracts today.
Yesterday I worked on "Bradbury Weather." I'm reading this piece too much, overreading. I'm afraid now I might have been right about the problem near the ending after all, though it sounded fine on Sunday. Argh. I made a few small tweaks to To Charles Fort, With Love, then e-mailed the ms. to subpress, and it's now with their design person. This book means a lot to me. I will be fretting about it at every stage. I finally caught up with my e-mail. I informed my agent that, despite what my contract with Penguin might say, there's no way I'll be delivering the first half of Daughter of Hounds by March 1st. I suspect my editor is already cognizant of this, as I only just sent him Chapter Two. If I'm very lucky, I'll finish Chapter Four by March 1st, which will be a third of the book, at best. I hate missing deadlines, but sometimes that's the way it goes. I have to let this book come at its own pace. It's not as if I have a choice in the matter.
As it is, I'm having to resist the urge to begin work on the story that occurred to me on Sunday, the new sf story. I'll make some notes, then start Chapter Three of DoH instead. I'll do some relevant reading. I'm not sure when I'll actually have time to write this one. Next month, perhaps.
I'm enjoying The Starlight Man, Mike Ashley's biography of Algernon Blackwood, very much. This passage has been floating about in my head all morning, a bit from one of Blackwood's letters to one of his publishers, regarding his novel, The Wave: an Egyptian Aftermath (1916):
I have tried to develop an interesting variant of the usual reincarnation theory, viz, that the soul's advance takes the spiral form so common everywhere in Nature. At any given point, that is, the soul finds itself exactly over a point passed earlier. Seen however from a higher point of view the earlier situation is understood and its lesson mastered.
It's an intriguing model, though I lack Blackwood's optimism.
Also, reading a number of negative reviews of the first production of his play/musical, The Starlight Express (adapted from The Prisoner of Fairyland), I was struck by a familiar refrain. The critic for The Standard best sums it up in this one line — Everybody loves a fantasy, but it should not be so subtle as to elude the understanding. That comment brought strong recollections of comments people have made about Silk and Threshold, in particular. The "Uh, what happened?" crowd. The ones who clamour always for exposition and resolution. The reviewer for The Era wrote of The Starlight Express — Unfortunately the authors require an audience for their play gifted with an imagination at least equal to their own. This seems to have been written in all seriousness. And I realized that it was the same problem I've had with a lot of readers. I expect you to bring your own imagination to the matters at hand, and I expect you to then use it. Honestly, it never occurred to me to do otherwise. I mean, isn't that the point, that interplay of imaginations? Otherwise, literature really is quite pointless, and film should take its place. Without the imagination of the reader, I see now, the ending of Silk (along with much of its beginning and middle) is an utter mystery. Without the reader's own willingness to play these games of fancy that I have laid out, most of Threshold makes no sense at all. I do not write for a passive audience. I wouldn't know how to do so. I can't help people who lack imagination of their own and turn to another for a surrogate. There's an interesting idea — imagination vampires.
Frell. The day is getting away from me. I may make another entry this evening...