Between Friday morning and Sunday morning, I had a cup of coffee to start my workday, then drank herbal tea. As the day progressed, my headache grew slightly, like a numb ache behind the skull. The machine demanded more caffeine! Alas, having none, it made more noise.
Monthly Archives: October 2010
While all the cool cats are off at World fantasy convention I figured I would make the best approximation on it here. I will drink too much, and argue with my XBox about the true nature of fantasy narrative. I will stay up too late to drink. I will stagger in to work on Monday exhausted.
Fantasy, as a genre or subgenre, has this way of painting things in words and symbols that are often obtuse. I remember reading this book where the whole city existed inside some magical glass. I recall, as well, in other works a vague wall of various and diverse “gods” who are little removed from the way gods work in the world. I recall numerous tortured heroes doing things that are viscerally challenging, of marginal interest otherwise. As a reader, right this second, I find that annoying.
Did any of it have metaphoric value? Probably not. This was all, for the most part, elements of “shiny” that make something “awesome”.
As I write more fantasy, and read more, I yearn for simplicity. There are enough strange things already in the world, and hopefully enough in your fantasy world to sustain real depth. Please, focus on the elements that matter metaphorically, artistically, etc., and simplify the things that are only in the way of narrative.
The Baroque is not my ideal. In epic fantasy, and entertainment-oriented fictions, I prefer to keep the lines clean. Do not wander down a path unless it serves the larger themes, please. I don’t want just awesome. I want something where every element of awesome shown also ties to a larger system of symbols, and meaning that speaks to the artistic truth of the narrative.
That is my preference today. Tomorrow, who knows? I will probably turn my nose up at such clean simplicity, and devour something hefty and baroque, like an issue of Electric Velocipede. At the moment, I aim for simplicity, and I re-read Ellen Kushner’s classic “Thomas the Rhymer”.
Celebratory round of Champagne for success for both Angie and me. Bought the champagne with the coolest bottle. As it tasted pretty bad, we pulled out some OJ. But, look at this awesome bottle. Just look at it!
(Livejournal cats need to prowl over to the main site to see anything more than text: http://jmmcdermott.blogspot.com)
No longer the enemy, sleep and I are sending lots of quality time together. In fact, I’d say we’re good pals.
After the deadline like that is met there’s this period of time where all I can do is sleep, go for walks, clean, and read.
It isn’t a bad recipe for a good life: sleep well, go for long walks, keep your living space clean, and read good books.
If I were mid-17th century physician, that would be my recipe for a life well-lived. I think it may still apply.
…thought about this a lot because editing Never Knew Another brings it back to me. I remember thinking right after Last Dragon that people don’t know what they want. Basically, I thought, before I had a book out at all, and I was in the soulless sprawl in between Dallas and Fort Worth, that everyone was unhappy. They wandered book shops and libraries miserable because they didn’t even know what they wanted. They knew what they didn’t want, right? They know they didn’t want a book like that, or with that kind of cover, or with that kind of story, or that was too much like what they read in school which was difficult. But, did they know what they wanted? No.
And I was thinking about poverty, and urban loneliness, and the way GLBT people in suburban Texas were generally treated like pariahs for no good reason, and the people who needed to know what that felt like were people who would never read the memoirs of a gay or lesbian teen.
I’m done with one. I turned it in. I don’t feel like talking about it anymore. Time to sleep, read, and write some more.
then i will be diving back into the wreck.
while i’m down, here’s a lovely video of the kind of stuff that inspired me when i was writing MAZE
which, to me, feels like an artifact of a different time, a different world. dogsland is all pounding drums and a drone rising up out of the noise to drown us all.
sleep is the enemy. batten down your hatches with caffeine and sugar-coma inducing combustibles and fruits and vegetables.
stay awake. just stay awake.
go, go, go! the end of the tunnel is coming on soon. don’t waste a minute more here, when you have the deadline on your manuscript edits already rising in the morning like a gorilla-shark come to strike and rend and devour.
sleep is the enemy, not gorillasharks. sleep is the enemy.
Woke up around 11.
A___ came by and we ate Onion Quiche and watched Monty Python’s “Meaning of Life”, and it is both disgusting and hilarious and brilliant stuff.
You know it, you love it:
(for folks who can’t see the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buqtdpuZxvk )
yesterday when i was sitting at my desk at work, the room started spinning. i was so tired that the room was spinning.
i was fine with that. in fact, my only thought was how i was grateful that i hadn’t been driving at the time.
will sleep tonight, clean dishes and clothes. tomorrow morning, dive back into the paper city.
wish me luck!