I’m about two-thirds done with Postsingular now. The book will probably have four long chapters and a short fifth chapter, and I finished Chapter 3 last week. This week I was cleaning up the long Chapters 2 and 3; I may try and get them published as standalone novelettes. Revising took longer than I expected.
When I proof my writing, I get disturbed about how many errors I find, and anxious about whether I can blend everything into the plot. Like I’m standing at a dam I’ve built and I’m seeing thirty holes spurting water at me.
Sometimes it seems like no matter how many times I’ve proof a passage, it ends up all marked up again on each go-through. As if the process were divergent rather than convergent.
Of course one reason this all feels like less fun than usual is that I’ve had a viral flu, I start out the day feeling okay, but by the afternoon I’m in a bubble. Disease = dis + ease. But I'm getting better.
To break things up I’m doing some of the proof-reading outside. On Wednesday, May 25, in fact I went to Santa Cruz and proof-read on Four Mile Beach, which was nice.
To relax I was also reading a novel by Kris Saknussemm called Zanesville which is pretty cool, good word play, Boschian imagery, kind of reminds me of how I wrote when I was younger, it’s science fiction but got marketed as a literary novel of the “magic realism” bent. SF is the genre that dare not speak it’s name. Hell no I’m not a Communist. I’m a Magic Republican. [Note to the terminally literal-minded: I'm joking.]
Saknussemm’s website is good too, by the way, he has this funny III Ching thing that is oddly similar to the three precogs in Phil Dick's story “Majority Report”, though maybe the Sak-man hasn't studied the SF canon that closely as yet, though it bears minute attention, yes. Welcome, Kris, come on in, plenty more room for weird SF writers!
Anyway now I got all my changes keyboarded in, and I did the patches to make it all fit. Whew.
Funny how something that seems so hard to change can really just come down to altering three or four sentences. It’s there’s a feature of the story that looms very large in my mind, like an obelisk, and when I go to take it out, I realize the obelisk was just three pencil lines.
And now that I’ve fixed these chapters I can turn to worrying about the chapters to come, which is painful in a different way.
[This man is not a science fiction writer; he's a Magic Republican.]
Writing is so much work. Every part of writing a novel is hard. The planning, the sitting down and creating, the revising. I guess the most fun part is when it seems to pour out and I’m having a good day. When I’m doing that, I stop worrying for a while, I forget myself and I’m happy and proud and even exalted and amazed to see what’s coming down or going up.
More precisely, that fun part is “the narcotic moment of creative bliss.” I just heard John Malkovich deliver that phrase, playing the role of an artist/art prof in Art School Confidential. That’s very right on; the operative word is “narcotic,” it’s definitely something you get addicted to over the years. Really I go to all this trouble writing a novel day after day month after month because (bring the band down behind me boys…)
“I’m waitin’ for the man, twenty-six dollar in my hand. He’s never early, he’s always late. First thing you learn is you always gotta wait,” quoth Lou Reed. Waiting for God(ot). Waiting for the Muse to *** on my ***. Waiting for the narcotic moment of creative bliss.
We saw this family playing great bluegrass in Santa Cruz, they had an ad for “Play It By Ear” software, maybe the guy wrote it. Nodded out on the narcotic moment of creative bliss.