greygirlbeast: (walter3)
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.



A quick recap of the rest of yesterday: It was a muteday, which made everything extra strange, finishing the novel and still remaining silent. I received permission to use one set of song lyrics, wrote Radiohead's management about another set, and will be writing R.E.M. today. I signed a mountain of eBay books, which Spooky then took to the post office. I answered a bunch of email. Oh, and I finished a novel. I only wrote 765 words, because I didn't need to write any more than that to reach THE END. The entire ms. for The Drowning Girl presently stands at 101,493 words. After all is said and done, it might go to 103,500.

Later, I went with Spooky to Staples, and PetCo, and Eastside Market, because we were out of lots of stuff. I'd not left the house since February 26th, when we made the snowy trek to the Blackstone Gorge. So, it had been...nine days. The day was bright, and the late afternoon light on College Hill was beautiful. But it was bitterly cold out there.

Back home, after dinner, Spooky proofed "The Dead and the Moonstruck" for Two Worlds and In Between. I was too exhausted to do anything but play about half an hour of Rift before I got disconnected from the server and gave up. We watched Richard Laxton's An Englishman in New York (2009), which is such a fine and brilliant film, and John Hurt is amazing as Quentin Crisp. Then Spooky played Rift, and her Kelari cleric made Level 18, and then I played again, and my Kelari mage reached Level 19. It's weird, not being able to play together, and soloing is a bitch, worse than in WoW. And after the gaming, we read more of Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire

And that was yesterday.

There's still a terrifying mountain of work to get done in the next week or so, but I think we have some emergency relief on the way. Comments would be very welcome today.

Oh, photos from yesterday. It seems somehow proper to photograph my mutedays:

7 March 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
I was an old woman, a very old woman. In my eighties, perhaps, and I had, at some point, inherited a squalid little flat in Boston that had been left to me by Quentin Crisp. I don't know how this had been accomplished, as Crisp died in 1999 and tended to live in squalid little flats and flop houses in Manhattan, not Boston. But there I was, and he had willed it to me, regardless. I had a very clear sense, not only from my advanced years, that this was happening decades in the future (2047ish?). The apartment was cold and dingy, but there was a fireplace (bricks glazed green) with a small fire, and I sat in a ratty armchair not far back from it. There was a party going on in the apartment, and there were very pretty boys in drag, and women with insect heads in elaborate latex and chrome dresses, and there were a few others, just people in Edwardian clothes, if Edwardian clothes were designed for a William Gibson novel.

My hands were so cold, and I sat before the fire, rubbing them together. Outside, it was snowing, and one of the boys kept shouting about the zombies, that the zombies were back again. Someone explained to me, very patiently, that the zombies were not zombies at all, but merely people who'd suffered severe brain damage during a long ago, brief fad of attempting to have one's mind uploaded to the internet or mainframe computers. I thought this very oddly funny, and when I laughed I had the unpleasant sensation that my dentures were loose.

There was Radiohead coming from an antique Victrola.

No one I now know was there, not even Spooky, and there was a terrible aloneness, despite the crowd in the flat. "This is what happens," I kept telling anyone who would listen. "You live this long, and this is what happens. It's just you."

At one point, I looked up, looked back over my shoulder, and Nar'eth was sitting on a chaise in one shadowy corner of the room, talking with one of the insect-headed women. She glanced at me, smiled, then went back to talking with the woman. This is the first time I've ever dreamt of Nar'eth when I was not actually Nar'eth. She'd not aged at all. I recall (it's in my notes) feeling two things upon seeing her: first, jealousy that she'd not aged and, secondly, relief that I was not entirely alone after all.

I was wearing velvet, and I think it was red velvet, but I'm not sure of any more than that, as regards my own clothing.

And then I was approached by one the cyberEdwardians, a man who looked just like a young Aleister Crowley, and he was carrying two hardback books. Both were quite old, and I asked him who read books anymore. There was a joke I can't recall, only that it was very funny, and the two of us laughed so loudly that other people stopped their conversations and stared at us. "Sign this one to Tesla," he said and handed me a copy of the black leather-bound edition of Frog Toes and Tentacles. So I signed it to Tesla. I didn't use a pen. Somehow, I wrote with my fingertip. My index finger. "Now," the man said, "sign this one to me," though I did not know his name. The book had a paper dust-jacket which was in bad shape and held together only with yellowed Scotch tape.

"Where did you find this old thing?" I asked (or I asked something very similar). I could hardly recall having written the book. The title on the cover was Post-Industrial Paganism (Spooky and I discussed just such a book a few nights ago). The man told me that he'd had it since it was published, and he told me how important it had been to him, that he was so glad I'd taken the time to write it. I opened the book and the copyright date was 2015, but it was copyrighted to Nar'eth ni'glecti Mericale, not to Caitlín R. Kiernan. I told him that she was here, at the party, and it would really be more appropriate if she signed it.

No, he insisted. You sign it. I want you to sign it, but I kept stalling and flipping through the pages while he talked.

I noticed a large green parrot sitting on the hearth, nibbling at a muffin.

"Isn't there the sense that American history has ended?" someone said. "What else could possibly happen?" I muttered something to myself about that being bullshit.

There was thunder and lightning and more talk of zombies, and the man who looked like Crowley told more jokes, and at some point someone brought me a neon-blue martini.

"The war can't go on forever," one of the insect-headed women said. "People won't stand for it." And I closed Post-Industrial Paganism and gave it back to the man, unsigned. And sometime right about here I woke up. My mouth was so dry I couldn't speak and had trouble swallowing. I found my notebook on the floor (Spooky had moved it from my side to a stack of books on her side, fearing I'd stumble over it in the night) and wrote down everything I could remember. This is only slightly more vivid and coherent than my dreams usually are. This evening, I've forgotten most of it, thanks to the Ambien (otherwise, I'd probably still be hazy and "dreamsick") and only have the notes to remind me. Make of it what you will. It's had me baffled all damned day.

Maybe my prayer stalker needs to pray a little harder...


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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