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Hot here in Providence, but, for now, cool enough in my office that I can sit in this chair at this keyboard and type. Do we still call it "typing"? Inputting data? Keystroking? The latter has a nice suggestion of masturbation, which is what most "typing" does surely amount to here on the internet. But that always was the way of things. The difference is that now all that masturbatory keystroking is on display for all the world to see, if the world so chooses. Democracy. Hah. Anyway, yeah, hot here in Providence. Currently 91˚F (feels like 93˚F). We have very low humidity, only 42% at the moment, which is keeping the heat index low.

"Facepalm" is one of the laziest, most idiotic shortcuts in the sordid history of the English language. Oh, the same goes for "facedesk." If you're going to flood the world with new portmanteaus, at least be witty.

I've already written about being so very far behind, as regards work and deadlines and new projects that have to be started three weeks ago. I don't know what's left to say on that account, but I don't have anything else left to say, for the time being, about my writing. That's it. I can't go back. I can't imagine going forward. What the fuck is there remaining to say? Who am I saying it to? Over the past twenty years I've written and published tens of millions of words (conservative estimate, surely), and nothing is compelling me to choke up another ten million.

Hell, I'm having enough trouble finding the energy and interest necessary to proofread the galleys for the next short-story collection.

What the fuck do you expect?

Oh, and the editorial letter for Red Delicious arrived this morning. Whee. I've only skimmed it, but I believe my editor has correctly identified several problems, primarily related to continuity and the motivation of characters. This is what happens when one writes a book much too fast in order to replace another book that was written so badly she's willing to write – for no extra fucking charge – another book to replace it.

This is a low point, kittens. Maybe the lowest.

Not Sure What Happens Now,
Aunt Beast


( 23 comments — Have your say! )
Jul. 16th, 2013 05:16 pm (UTC)
Low point, and am sorry to read that. Keep at it. You'll get through this. No author is immune to the editorial knife.
Jul. 16th, 2013 05:18 pm (UTC)

Keep at it.

We'll see.

And screw the editorial knife. The editor's right. This has nothing to do with editing a book I didn't want to write. I pertains to having to write a book I didn't way to write – and to the writing of any and all future books.
Jul. 16th, 2013 05:27 pm (UTC)

Keystroking? The latter has a nice suggestion of masturbation, which is what most "typing" does surely amount to here on the internet.

There's an idea for a story - what if the connection was direct? Type a word, get a sensation. What would you type, and would you be afraid to type some things, for fear of what the sensations from those words said about you?

We're getting hot and humid here this week, which means that a Pacific Rim viewing is in order. Maybe get my daughter from home and do a mid-day matinee.
Jul. 16th, 2013 05:40 pm (UTC)

We're getting hot and humid here this week, which means that a Pacific Rim viewing is in order. Maybe get my daughter from home and do a mid-day matinee.

It's a great movie.
Jul. 16th, 2013 06:00 pm (UTC)

I introduced her to the Hellboy movies last weekend in prep for Pacific Rim. I'm really looking forward to it.
Jul. 16th, 2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
Hope things go well. Or at least better.
Jul. 16th, 2013 05:47 pm (UTC)

Things are not even going.
Jul. 16th, 2013 05:56 pm (UTC)
Then sit down and just type. Not much else you CAN do...
Jul. 16th, 2013 05:59 pm (UTC)

I can go to the beach.
Jul. 16th, 2013 06:13 pm (UTC)
"Facepalm" is one of the laziest, most idiotic shortcuts in the sordid history of the English language. Oh, the same goes for "facedesk."

After I get up in the morning I faceoatmeal. Then I facevision the cat in the backyard facewater from the fountain.
Jul. 16th, 2013 06:14 pm (UTC)

"Face" the world. I may be "facewriting" these days.
Jul. 16th, 2013 06:23 pm (UTC)
I'm probably an unneeded extra voice...
You know I'd vote for the beach. When you feel, as you do, at least when I feel that overwhelmed, how-the-fuck-did-I-do-this-to-myself feeling, I go off: to the beach, the forest, the river, the mountain. Anywhere but the keystroking. However, the difference is, I suppose, you keep going and clicking those keys, even when you are feeling the lowest.

Here's to a a higher point and feeling better.

Edited at 2013-07-16 06:24 pm (UTC)
Jul. 16th, 2013 06:27 pm (UTC)
I can't go back. I can't imagine going forward.

I feel this way in my line of work. I'm stagnating at a certain point and really don't want to dig myself in any deeper. Going forward feels like some great betrayal of myself but I can't change the past that got me to this point. Now I have Where Do We Go From Here? from the Buffy musical episode stuck in my head. I hope things start looking up for you.
Jim Rieber
Jul. 16th, 2013 06:47 pm (UTC)
It's a shame there's no reset button when you're deep in the weeds. When I feel buried in work and just can't seem to get going, I stop trying. Better to take off to the forest or read a book than drive yourself nuts trying to make something happen that just won't. I'm sure people more efficient at life have better methods, but that's all I know to do.

Well, that's not entirely true. When I'm really stressed, particularly about work, I sometimes sneak off by myself to Mr. Ghatti's Pizza and pig-out while watching TGIF re-runs. And after I'm done embarrassing myself with food, I hit the arcade and show-up all the little brats who think they know video games. Better than a dose of medicine.
Jul. 16th, 2013 06:52 pm (UTC)
The situation you are in sounds incredibly tough. I'm thinking of you and believe that you will pull through, even if it is not necessarily in a way that seems clear right now.

Jul. 16th, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC)

Thank you.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 16th, 2013 07:02 pm (UTC)

It was my main reason for most of two decades. Now, I just do not care.
Jul. 17th, 2013 01:42 am (UTC)
for what it's worth
I'll give you the advice/operating instructions that my mother always gives my most-current Significant Other:

"If she gets cranky, put her in water"

Go to the beach, and hit the reset button. It tends to work for me.

I know depression and stagnation intimately, and know both how little and how much this may mean right now, but: I truly cherish your writing. I keep one of your books in my backpack at all times. Your words have never failed to take my breath away, and have saved me in some of my darkest times. I wish you only the very best, and hope this storm will pass soon.

Jul. 17th, 2013 02:21 am (UTC)
I hope your awesome strength will continue to serve you well.
Jul. 17th, 2013 02:52 am (UTC)
Hell, I'm having enough trouble finding the energy and interest necessary to proofread the galleys for the next short-story collection.

I will very cheerfully proofread The Ape's Wife. And help in any way I can with Red Delicious.

Edited at 2013-07-17 02:52 am (UTC)
Jul. 17th, 2013 02:04 pm (UTC)
There’s something terribly onanistic about the act of creative writing (creative anything, in truth!). At best it’s hard. But if you are forced to it for survivals sake, if it’s not something you WANT to do in the first place, then that certainly defines hell on earth.

For most people life is a messy tangle of work, rest and play. The work element is often monotonous, ragged, a total drag and drain on the individual involved. For the vast majority, I’d guess, work is something they HAVE to do, not necessarily something they enjoy doing or want to do. For the remainder, well, hell, they’re damn lucky boys and girls. Maybe it’s an individual who’s a doctor of philosophy or philology or a professor of semiotics or a Kikuyu hunter in Kenya. Whatever. If they are doing what they want to do, what they have always striven to accomplish with their work-a-day lives then great! They’re happy.

But for the rest of us, well, shit happens. I have a friend who, to make ends meet, cleans holiday caravans during the summer for minimum wage. She’s fifty something and has during her life done any number of crappy jobs to keep the wolf from the door. But cleaning those caravans is worse than anything else she’s ever done before - the state of some of those places at the end of a week can be stomach churning (to put it nicely).

For myself I’m of an age where it’s possible to say I’ve done most things (from a work perspective). When I was kid I didn’t WANT to work – I wanted to be independently wealthy (but without making too much effort to acquire that wealth, if you know what I mean), and to travel the globe, be one of the beautiful people, one of life’s hanger’s on, a leech on the arse of suffering humanity. But I never made it. Instead I did every shitty job going to earn a living, to put food on the table, Christ, to pay for that damn table and then keep a roof overhead.

I also wanted to write. I wanted to be a poet. No money in it, of course. While I held down a full time and two part-time jobs, I wrote what I wanted to write - but I didn’t get published, which came as no great surprise to me. My expectations were low.

So then I wrote soft porn for various magazines under various pennames at a penny (later as much as thruppence) per word. And in time I was able to get by with just the full time job (which I hated from the very depths of my effin’ being) and writing this crap to order for a pack of unsavory dick-heads, like a frigging robot with a typewriter. Believe me when I say I wanted to write - but this wasn’t writing, this was irksome and oppressive! I had to do it to get by, but God! There just had to be a better way!

I think what I’m trying to say (and not very well at that) is that I understand completely where you’re at. I’ve been there myself. I just wish I had some cozy, one-size-fits-all answer to this dilemma. Ultimately I tell myself (and told myself) it’s part of the human condition. We may end up in traps of our own making, but external influences play more than their fair share in these desperate situations. All my life I’ve struggled with terrible bouts of depression – not my bloody fault, couldn’t control the fact I suffered them. But by Christ they certainly impacted on the quality of my life. Compound our normal “everyday” trials and tribulations with individual emotional or health problems and you have a whoopee-do mess nine time out of ten.

I like to call myself “widely read” and have taken immense amounts of pleasure over time from your writing. I think it’s undervalued and often misunderstood. But there are also many other readers out there who deeply appreciate and enjoy your work, and they like me would be saddened to think you might “dry up” or “give up”. That instead of writing you’d go sit on the beach all day and watch the world pass by (couldn’t you do that with a laptop?). From a purely selfish point of view I hope you continue to write from the heart, but perhaps for your own sake, to slow it down a little. Give yourself room to breathe, to look round, take stock of your particular situation.

Take a break.

All the very best.


Jul. 18th, 2013 02:55 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear you are feeling this way :(

I've been following you since around 1996. Not literally, but your work :) You inspired me to keep writing, to find the dark humor in the act of it, despite your general warnings to avoid the biz. And while I did not quit my day job, I kept writing. Now, I'm doing okay in my own little way as an author/writer/whatever. I guess what I'm saying is that your journals, books, and stories have been a source of dark inspiration for me, and I hope I can pay that forward some day.

Like other commenters, I too believe you will find your way through. We'll be here in any case.

Jul. 19th, 2013 06:47 am (UTC)
keep up the good work! i love butts!
( 23 comments — Have your say! )