Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Still Bored

Thank the gods this day is finally drawing to a close. I've spent most of it chain smoking, which I should not be doing at all, and drinking too much coffee, which I also should not be doing and clicking back and forth between the same four internet sites where nothing is happening, waiting for my computer to do some amusing trick. I'm cross and brain-dead, and I don't feel like doing anything, yet doing nothing has no appeal either. I want to go shopping in the worst way, and I have no money. I want a new phone. Someone needs to drop $50K on my head, please. I could really put it to good use. Like, paying off my debts and then taking M. on a romantic vacation somewhere nice. Even a trip to Boulder would be good. We could walk around and drink lattes and eat food. I mean, I eat food here, every day, but it's not the same.

How do I manifest a change in my life? Well, not so much in my life as in my financial situation. I pretty much like my life, but the money sucks big hairy moose wang. Why must I always be poor? Other people make money. I've never been any good at it. It's all I can do to hold down a miserable, minimum wage job, the kind where at the end of the day you think you'd really rather starve to death than do THAT again.

I need to sell a book. I'm terrible at selling myself. I just don't seem to get the right hook. I can't attract the right attention. Is that because I'm uncomfortable with attention, due to my FOO? Quite possibly.

I wonder where Caitlin and Timber went? They were living in my head for months and now I can't find them at all.


Bored, Tired, Mad, Frustrated

The title of this post about says it all.

I'm really frustrated with my current lack of ability to write. It's doubly hard, coming, as it does, after my really great and productive spring. Right now I feel like I'll never be able to write again, and like I maybe had three good novels in me and that was all.

Or maybe it's just because I'm so tired. I don't sleep well. This didn't bother me much when I was writing, because I felt so jazzed about the work that getting five to six hours of sleep didn't deter me. But now I'm just dragging all the time. I long for a good seven or eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

M. says I need a break anyway because I've been working so hard. But I hate taking this's like some kind of enforced lay-off. It's BORING not being able to write. I like living my life in my created worlds. Not being able to access it/them is like being cut off from my own heart.

Gods, I'm tired.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Some Stuff

Still stalled on the current project, which is no longer called The Strayaway Child. I don't know what it's called, actually. I got a new idea for how to look at the plot which changed quite a bit and entailed me culling another two and a half chapters, and now that title is no longer suitable. I know what happens next, but I'm having trouble contacting my antagonist and figuring out who she is, really. This is odd for me. I tend to write really character-driven work, and having no idea of the character but a pretty good idea of the plot is a 180-degree switch.

FWIW, if anyone reading this would like to check out The Unquiet Grave and She Moved Through the Fair, both have been uploaded in their entirety at


And Here:

I'd appreciate it if you decide to take a look, if you'd register and leave a comment. It doesn't take long, and it's free.

The cat is screaming.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

And the weather sucks, too.

Rain today. I was hoping to get some writing done--I actually managed a little yesterday--but I've been just grumpy and irritable all day and I can't settle to anything. Everything just makes me cross and mad.

I feel like I'm waiting for something. Waiting for everything to align so that I can move on with my life. I'm so tired of it. Waiting to have enough money. Waiting to get back in the groove. Waiting for things to be ready.

I had a tarot reading the other day that essentially said, "Stop waiting and act," but there are so many reasons that would not necessarily be a good idea.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

In Search of My Brain

Maybe it's just that I'm tired.

I am tired. I haven't slept well in almost a year. For the last six months I've only slept about six hours a night maximum, with numerous gettings-up and wanderings around the house along the way. And I have ceased to be able to take meaningful naps. So I'm really, really beat.

But in spite of that, during the later part of February, March and April, I experienced the most heightened state of creativity that I've ever known. And then, the second week of May, it stopped.

I was about 400 pages into the fourth Caitlin Ross book, The Strayaway Child. For this book, I had a wonderful set up and not real plot. So I invented one. 400 pages into the book, I realized the plot didn't make any sense, so I axed about 200 pages and came up with a new plot. This plot makes sense, but it fails to excite me. I can't find the emotional resonance, the hook that keeps me writing, wanting to find out how it all turns out just like any reader. I wrote about 100 pages, realized I was stalling and nothing I had written advanced the plot and axed that, too. I started again. I wrote two chapters, realized my characters were not acting right, and axed them. Now I'm stuck 2/3 of the way through chapter 13 and I can't find it in me to go on. I know what happens. I just can't get there.

I hope it's just that I'm tired and if I take some time off, it'll come back to me. Because otherwise I'm stuck with the idea that I've set up a book that I just don't give a shit about.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Yes, I'm Alive...

Shortly after my last post, I drowned.

Not in a bad way. In a wave of creativity. In the course of about 3 months, maybe a little less, I entirely rewrote The Unquiet Grave, wrote the rough draft for She Moved Through the Fair, wrote another rough draft for the third book in the Caitlin Ross series, A Maid in Bedlam, and started the draft of the fourth book, The Strayaway Child. Not sure how many words that actually comes to, but not including the rewrites of TUQG, I barfed out about 1200 pages. More, really, because 400 pages into The Strayaway Child I got stuck and decided my plot didn't work and scrapped about 200 pages.

Then, not far into May, the impulse just kind of faded. I'm still working on The Strayaway Child, but in a kind of desultory way, when I feel like it, which does not seem to be often these days. My mind and energy are taken up with other things. I have a lot of energy, actually; it just doesn't seem to be geared toward writing for some reason. I know I should probably keep plugging away, but I've never been one of those people who can sustain an effort when the emotional resonance to the work is absent.

So I've been:
Cleaning the house (SHOCK)
Trying to get out more instead of staying locked in my office all the time
Planning on quitting smoking for real this time
Listening to more music
Playing music

Some other shit.

That's all.

BTW, why are all these people posting weird comments in Chinese on my blog?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A brief "News" post

I have decided to pull The Unquiet Grave from submissions for now.

It started with the query. I have trouble writing queries in any case. But the query for TUQG was really giving me fits. I just couldn't condense everything into a 3-paragraph synopsis. And I began to think, "Maybe I'm having trouble writing this query because the book is in trouble." So I enlisted some beta readers to give me a second opinion. And they have pretty much confirmed my suspicions. It needs to be clearer, tighter. I need a different ending. I need to lose about 16k words. And so on.

So, now I'm editing it down and fixing some problems.

At first I was working on She Moved Through the Fair simultaneously. But today I think I'm going to focus on TUQG. Okay, this is partly because I have a difficult scene to write in SMTtF, involving a riot at a poetry reading, and I don't feel like doing it today.

Anyway, just thought I'd post what's going on.

And the tea boils.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Now in the "tea" portion of this insomnia...

I've been up since four. As I went to sleep around midnight, this is no laughing matter. I have tried everything: hot milk, having a snack, relaxation exercises. Now I am in the "nice, soothing cup of tea" portion of the morning. If it keep up for another hour, I may just go ahead and make the coffee.

It wouldn't be so bad if I could be assure of having a nap later, but I've been really bad about napping the past few days. Just can't get my mind to shut off.

I wonder if I'm having a touch of mania. If so, I don't mind much. It's way better than the depression. I've gotten a lot of work done. I'm already three chapters into She Moved Through the Fair, which is really good, as I just started seriously writing it on Friday. The chapters are shorter than those in TUQG, but it's still the first draft so that may change.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

On Pins and Needles...

...waiting to hear from the latest agent I queried about The Unquiet Grave. I sent the query in on Thursday morning. With the three queries I sent before that one, I heard within a matter of hours (I love e-mail queries; it makes the process so much quicker and easier!). This latest agent stated on her web page that she usually answers e-queries within a day. But I haven't heard anything yet. Does this mean anything?

It's a hard line to walk, between trying to stay positive and upbeat--i.e., not putting negative energy into the process--and remaining realistic. I want to think that the extra time it's taking means she's seriously considering my work. I realise this is a long shot. I almost didn't query her at all. She said she isn't interested in fantasy. But she is interested in mystery and music. And she said, "when in doubt, query." So I did.

My mind keeps making up all kinds of stories about this. Maybe she's reading my query over and over, trying to decide. Maybe she's discussing it with other agents she works with. Maybe she'll pass it along to one of them. Maybe they're having an entire staff meeting about me.

More likely, she's just swamped and hasn't got to my query yet.

Still, every time I open my e-mail and there is no rejection there, my heart gives a little leap of hope.

In other news, I spent Thursday night re-plotting She Moves Through the Fair in my mind (and with M.'s help). I think I have a good story, if I can pull it off. I actually made some headway on it yesterday. I got about halfway through chapter two. I wanted to make it all the way through, but after working for five hours or so my brain just gave up. It's still the rough draft, of course. I think I'm going to have to go back through and add more detail. But I think it's good. A better story than The Unquiet Grave, even.

Over and out.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I can't seem to settle to anything these days. Reading isn't doing it for me. Maybe it's just the book. I'm re-reading Robin Hobb's Fool's Errand and I can't seem to keep my mind on it. I liked it when I read it before, but now it's just boring me. As I said in my last post, I've been feeling like I'd like to work again. The fear is less than it was (yesterday was the worst day ever for that, but now I'm better), but I still can't seem to concentrate. I've been querying agents about The Unquiet Grave. Three rejections and counting on that, but I'm plugging away. Someone's got to want it. I've been smoking like a fiend. And I've been trying to work on She Moved Through the Fair. That's going slowly. I can only remember about half the plot--shame on me for not keeping better notes--but that's not all of it. It comes very slowly. Where once the words were fluid, now I have to search for every one. Right now, I can't get Caitlin and Timber out of their house and to the gig. I try to tell myself, "Just spit it out!" but that's mostly a wash. So I spend a lot of time sitting on the couch, staring into space and rehearsing the words of what comes next. It's work of a kind, I guess, but it's also pretty boring. I feel a lot like I just sit around all day, waiting for it to be time to go to bed so I can get up and do it all over again. Not that bed is much of a relief, either. I woke up at three this morning and never did get back to sleep.

Well, I think it's time to roam about some more...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Handful of Dust

"What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust."
--T.S. Eliot, "The Wasteland"

Coming out of the long sleep. Almost a year: I have not been literally asleep, rather in abeyance. The self that is me has been curled up tight, perhaps undergoing some kind of metamorphosis, perhaps only waiting for some moment in time, this moment. I think this moment, yet I have no idea what makes this moment different from any other.

I know dissatisfaction with my life. This is something I have not known for long and long, though I have not really had a life for the past year or more. Only a waiting, an existence. A space of time during which I have had the barest consciousness of myself and the world around me.

Now I come to myself and I find myself dissatisfied. I am bored, restless and cranky. I want more. Yet I still feel very little connection with anything. I reach for connection, and I know only the sickness of fear.

It started, I think, with the reading. At first I was glad to be reading, because I had not been able to do even that much for a very long time. Now I have been doing little but reading for several months. And I begin to recognise the old hunger. I am tired of reading, of being a witness to things in which I have no real part. I want to create again.

And so, I turn my eye to writing once more. I have spent the last couple of weeks reading everything I have ever written. At first I felt nothing at all. I saw dead words that did not move me. I scanned novels of a few pages or half finished, and did not remember what they were supposed to be about or why I should care.

Then I began to feel a stirring in my belly. Not inspiration: fear. A throwing up fear.

I do not know what this fear is about. It refuses a name.

I wanted to say more about this, but at the moment there is nothing more to say.