this moment of clarity, this moment of honesty

I’m so glad Christmas is almost over. It sucks the brain from my skull like the yolk from those fancy Ukrainian painted eggs. I cannot keep track of which words belong to which dates; I will now begin tracking my progress via total word counts. Also, this method prevents me from taking credit for all the crappy words which I later remove. It will, I am sure, lead to negative word counts during some periods (sigh). Not-a-Werewolf: 14,000.Godot: No progress; continues to suck.Last Duellists: Met with beta readers for awesome dinner and feedback, but haven’t yet actually fixed story.Dickensian Fantasy: um, somewhere north of 250,000 all told. Figured out how to fix part one; scared to start. Received for Christmas: silver acorn, print of family home, great quantity of drink, chipotle mustard, thing to make vichyssoise in.Still want for Christmas: luggage, huge biceps, correct spelling of “vichyssoise”. […]

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All we like sheep have gone astray

(Having once sung the Messiah with my university choir, I tend to get the entire damned thing stuck in my head at this time of year, except for the parts without a soprano part, which didn’t get rehearsed at the same times.) Major technical problems at Casa Clairification the last few weeks: I couldn’t get online much at all. What began as a major annoyance turned out to be a source of exactly the right kind of boredom. Instead of puttering about reading the words of others, I buckled down and wrote some of my own. Anyone actually prolific will scoff at these counts, no doubt. All I can say in my defense is that it’s also busy season at the Day Career and I keep being the one to turn the lights out at the office. Not-a-Werewolf Book: 9990 words since Nov 17 Godot Story: 2789 words (actually, quite a few more words than that, but the rest of them sucked, and were duly excised) “The Tongue of Bees”, formerly “BEitD”, formerly “LtLCBftCaW”, is now in the mail. !!!! You’d think this would involve about thirty seconds: print story, stick story in envelope, lick envelope, affix stamp. In fact–and […]

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And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

This month, so far, has been productive but scattered. I spent most of the day Saturday doing a thing I can’t quite call writing because, you know, words didn’t actually appear on the page. I never did figure out, at least on that day, what I was doing wrong in that story. I know that despite getting almost nothing done, at the end of it all my brain felt like used tissue, and I went to a party and said nothing of consequence and everyone else was more interesting. As of today: The Godot story: 548 words to date, mostly Saturday, mostly lousy. The violence story: Who knows? You don’t think I’m going to bother to count handwritten words, do you? I’ll just bank them for whatever day I decide to transcribe them into a proper file. The Not-a-Werewolf book: 2584 words in the new draft (draft 9?!), some pirated from draft 8, some shiny and new. Actually, when I look at it laid out this way, I don’t think I can call this a productive month after all. Sigh. […]

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I’m sad. Now I’m going to make you sad. Stop reading.

My little cat, seen here indulging in her favourite game of Stairway Ambush, has become very ill. She’s in the hospital just now, where I cannot comfort her. The other cats rejoice in her absence, for now they can sleep upon the bed without getting spat upon and boxed in the face. I, on the other hand, wish with all my heart that she might come back to us in fighting form, but I don’t think it’s going to happen this time. I think I’ve learned what a dying thing looks like. […]

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In which I break my #1 beta reader

My mother (Hi, Mom!) didn’t make it past the first section of “The Last Duellists of the Flanders Park School”. She’s had a rough year; she says she found the story’s opening powerful and upsetting, and decided it would have to wait for another day. In general I love upsetting people with my fiction. Of course, I prefer them to be people other than my Mom, but as a first response for the Pie Story it’s a fine one. My other beta readers have invited me over for dinner, so either they have lots to say, or they’ve decided that anyone so poor a writer must be about to starve! My November efforts, instead of focusing on the Talking Fish Story as I expected, have taken a sudden turn toward the Violence Story. I should know better: the damned thing’s been kicking my ass for months, simultaneously demanding attention and rebuffing all attempts to make it part of a larger whole. I still have no idea what I’m doing with it, and the thing I wrote on the plane probably isn’t any better than any of my other tries, but it appears my subconscious has chosen. I wonder if it […]

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Things unsaid

I’ve been avoiding writing something. I’ve been avoiding saying it, too, even when it’s topical. It is the kind of thing no one, no one, wants to talk about. Not a deep dark secret or anything: those always have willing listeners. This is just a small sad human thing that for some reason is occupying the forefront of my mind this weekend. I’m not going to write it here, either. I’m going to carry it away with me, while I finish the laundry and get ready for my trip tomorrow and close up the house and brush my teeth. […]

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This guy gets it

It’s wonderful to read such insightful commentary about the book business. Aspiring writers who aren’t already in the business should definitely read this post, and the comments and offshoots as well. I am both a writer and a chain buyer. Why, being the one, would I want to be the other? Well, I was a writer first. It’s natural for writers to seek employment in the book business, since writers (if they’re any good) are also readers, and reading, of course, is one of the prerequisites for being a book buyer. If I’d become a chain buyer first, though, I doubt I would want to become a writer at this point. I see the numbers. I see the number of titles a store can carry, versus the number published in a year. The odds are against any given writer at every level, numerically: finding an agent, finding a publisher, getting your book into the stores, getting your book to actually sell. But I’m different, of course. I’m brilliant. My books are going to be bought, loved, discussed, read, reprinted, reviewed. I don’t need to worry about the odds. Statistics are meaningless when you’re this good. I’m joking, of course; and […]

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In which I use my free hour to write–what else?

I managed to finish the Pie Story yesterday with a suggestion of something that actually makes no sense and isn’t possible in the context of the story. In my defense I was already late for a party and bsleek was running about bare-chested with a cucumber in his pants telling me to hurry up. (It was a costume party, just so you don’t think my household is regularly full of half-naked cucumber-wearers.) Today, I finished it again, in a more satisfying fashion, and sent it off to some beta readers who volunteered during the party and will probably regret it now that they’re sober. My story tally from VP onward: September: “Learning the Tongue of Bees” (formerly “A Brief Education in the Decadents”, formerly “Leaving the Laundry Circles, Bound for the Corn and Wine”), 4000 words October: “The Last Duellists of the Flanders Park School”, 4000 words November’s story will likely be the Talking Fish Story, since it still has that appetizing feeling in my brain, meaning there is something there I will enjoy doing. After that I’ll have to go a little further afield to figure out what story to write next. […]

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Addendum: On the Pie Story

1163 words on the Pie Story tonight. Maybe another 500 to go–probably less. It’s a sad story. Probably because, in addition to being about poverty, it is related to some other things from the wasteland of Bagot Street: Arnold’s litter-mate, who died at three days old and was buried in the garden; the eclipse and the fountain downtown; the east-facing window, from which the view was nothing but bleak. I surprise myself again with the depth of the despair I still carry with me from that time, even in the light of today. […]

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