From Samuel R. Delany’s About Writing:
Writers are people who write. By and large, they are not happy people. They’re not good at relationships. Often they’re drunks. And writing — good writing — does not get easier and easier with practice. It gets harder and harder — so eventually the writer must stall out into silence.The silence that waits for every writer and that, inevitably, if only with death (if we’re lucky the two may happen at the same time: but they are still two, and their coincidence is rare), the writer must fall into is angst-ridden and terrifying – and often drives us mad. (In a letter to Allen Tate, the poet Hart Crane once described writing as “dancing on dynamite.”) So if you’re not a writer, consider yourself fortunate.
I picked the wrong week to give up licking poisonous toads.
Last week before my book is due. I’m at a low end of the roller-coaster ride…feeling very confused and useless…hoping to be on a rise tomorrow…so I can marathon this thing till the end.
Come See Me Read
I’ll be one of the featured readers at Twilight Tales on Monday the 30th. Come out and see me. As part of their bio section, Twilight Tales asked me some questions. I’ve pasted those questions below with my answers:
Let’s start with the basics, what’s the title of the story you’ll be reading?
I’ll be reading excerpts from my new novel, Strangeness in the Proportion.
Who or what inspired it, and tell us briefly about the action?
A lot of the inspiration (and the title) comes from the quote I use to open the novel:
“There is no exquisite beauty…without some strangeness in the proportion.”
—Edgar Allan Poe, “Ligeia”
The book is set in White Wolf Publishing’s World of Darkness setting (a real world setting with monsters in the shadows). It is technically a horror novel…but I like to think of it as a love story on the other side of entropy.
As for inspirations…there were a lot of them. I wanted to story where a Tim Burtonesque misfit, drawn by Edward Gorey (with shades of silent film comedic heroes like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton) is forced into the dark underworld of Frank Miller’s Sin City as if directed by Edgar Allan Poe.
The story is about an eccentric, absinthe addicted forensic pathologist, Simon Meeks, who falls in love with a Jane Doe cadaver. When Jane disappears, Simon snaps and goes off in search of her (scalpels in hand), plummeting into the hidden supernatural world that lies just under the surface of Chicago.
It’s kind of about love and relationships with the dead…like the movie Ghost…only where that movie was more “Unchained Melodies”, my book is more “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”
The lyrics and music video of the Nine Inch Nails song, “Perfect Drug” was also an inspiration (in fact, the lyrics work as a very vague plot synopsis).
And finally, Count Carl Tanzler von Cosel (the infamous romantic/necrophile of Key West, Florida), offered some inspiration.
What’s the most interesting reading you’ve ever had?
A drumming circle open mic night at Twilight Tales. I was reading an emotionally heavy piece…and the drums got me more into it…and I think that helped the drummer to get even more into it…and round and round and it felt like the most intense reading I’d ever given.
What inspires you to write, or what makes you want to tell a particular story?
There is a ghost tree that grows in my head. On each of those thousand-thousand ghost branches are a thousand-thousand ghost ravens and each raven has a story to tell. When it is ready, a raven pecks at my eyes from the inside. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s best to obey the ravens.
What insights would you like to share with other authors about the writing process, getting published, or overcoming an obstacle in the story?
Do not kill the things you love because of other people’s pretensions. Do not throw away your comic books, Godzilla movies, and Halloween decorations because someone says they’re tacky. The things we love fuel our stories and if you really love them, your stories will be deep enough.
Do not develop any pretensions. Only spend your energy on enthusiasms. The difference between a pretension and an enthusiasm is the difference between a man showing off his luxury car to his peers as a symbol of affluence…and a boy tearing the hell out of his new bike on a dirt hill, alone and in ecstatic joy. Never use a big word because you worry about what someone thinks. Use a big word because it’s fun and you want to play with it—play the hell out of it—work it to the nub.
And do not fall into the hysteria of anti-pretension either. Never throw away a big word because someone tells you you’re pretentious. Remind them that you have no pretensions, only enthusiasms. Make sure you are telling the truth when you say this. Or don’t. You are a writer, and thus a con-man of a sort, after all.
Is there anything you’d like to tell us about yourself , or your writing that will help us understand who you are as a writer?
When I was a boy, I had a water bed. Water beds tend not to have a space underneath. No space, no monsters under the bed. My writing teacher and mentor in college is still convinced that I’m making up for lost time.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share?
My first novel, Strangeness in the Proportion will be out sometime in the near future, by White Wolf Publishing. If you’d like to know anything else about me, you can check out my blog at http://www.myspace.com/nevermore_66