Pride of Survival

Got good news in the inbox yesterday (of a sort, but still a hurrah), a rejection before coffee this morning (not unexpected, minor boo), and I get to write a scene I’ve been planning for well over a year today (major celebration, but performance anxiety ahoy). So, Thursday is a mixed bag, as usual. The most difficult part is moving through all the emotional stages after rejection at high speed while also getting caffeine into my bloodstream.

Fortunately I’m an old hand at that sort of thing, and this particular one barely makes a dent. It merely opens another door.

The monthly sale post has been updated. There’s a lot going on right now. I’m kind of looking forward to taking a break in February, not least so I can get The Fall of Waterstone situated. The river race is about to begin, then there’s the (interrupted, sort of) wedding, then fleeing from OMG ALL THE BAD STUFF, and the fall of yet another kingdom to write too. It’s a big, meaty, sprawling book, and I would be frightened of attempting it if I weren’t so busy. I don’t have time for fear; like spice, the words must flow.

And there’s the matter of a book of short stories to put together. I’ve been kicking around the idea of an anthology of all my shorts (or the shorts so far, since I’m sure I’ll write more) in one place, with some extras. Like the less-than-500-word experiment story, and the Dolly Parton homage, and that one story I know will piss everyone off.

…that last one is somewhat vague, since I’m dead sure a lot of my stuff pisses people off. Occupational hazard, and I won’t deny a certain amount of satisfaction in it either.

I finished reading Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, which was lovely and painful. I’d forgotten how slim a volume it is, but packed tight with sentences polished bright and sharp–I like the Norton Critical editions in these cases because they give sorely needed context. I knew when it ended I’d yearn to read Jane Eyre again, but when do I not? A long time ago, my writing partner’s husband said, in tones of surpassing wonder, “How many editions of Jane Eyre do you need, anyway?”

To which my writing partner and I chorused, “All of them, of course.” Just one more reason why we’re friends.

Now I’m about a hundred-plus pages into John Rechy’s City of Night, which is reportedly one of the main influences on Gus van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho–the non-Shakespeare bits, at least. I’m reminded strongly of the things I actually liked about Bukowski and Kerouac while reading it, as well as a few things I didn’t, and since I spent so long sunk into Anais Nin I also keep thinking “Anais went through the Swamp of Despair so that Rechy and his like could have good careers.” I am also…well, the feeling is somewhere between amazement and surprise at the fidelity to certain aspects of street life, which shone through in Idaho as well. Maybe because van Sant, like Rechy, knew actual hustlers; in Rechy’s case, he was one and it shows.

It’s like turning a corner and seeing an old friend from a previous (uncomfortable, and highly formative) life era. The embarrassment, the pride, the knowledge of someone else understanding exactly what it was like as well as the shame and queasy pride of survival. I’m not sure how I’ll feel about the book at the end, but that’s part of the joy of reading, ennit?

In any case, Boxnoggin has turned his nose up at brekkie and is waiting for me to get my own morning nutriment sorted. I will be full of the scene I have to write today all during walkies, going over and over it so often it might well tear itself out of my head whole and bloody when I am finally able to settle and get the actual writing done. I’m edgy, in a way other writers will understand. This part of the story has patiently (or not so patiently) waited its turn, and now it wants out.

With claws, and a vengeance.

I long to get to it. I cannot wait, so I will bid you a fond adieu. I hope you have something as pleasant to look forward to, my beloveds. It’s always good to have a day full of doing what you were meant and made for.

Almost makes one believe in fate. Almost.