I keep working weekends then being surprised at how tired I am during the week proper. I think the elastic has snapped, though; finishing the proofreader queries for Salt-Black Tree has finally managed to…well, not quite break me, but certainly give me a painful sting on the wrist, like popping a really big rubber band. I’m going to have a welt from this one, I can just tell.
The queries are the very last wicket before a book goes into production. Well, other than the poor managing editor collating the proofreaders’ and my marked-up proofs, wading through a thicket of finicky changes, stets, and occasionally (okay, well, frequently) comments from a long-suffering author who at this point hates the book as much as everyone else who’s had to read it fifteen times and try to stay alert for tiny changes each go-round. This is like being on the last mile of a marathon, with all applicable attendant discomfort.
All the energy reserved to keep a slot on my schedule open for further queries and go-rounds on the duology is about to be rerouted elsewhere, but first it has to settle. I wish there was an easy changeover strategy, but that much mass and momentum is difficult to halt, especially when it’s been going for years. (Years spent writing the books, years spent getting them through trad publishing, this game is never about instant gratification.)
So I’m sort of spark-spinning, waiting for the flywheel to decelerate enough for hooking up to some other project. It doesn’t help the the current stress is also provoking some health problems, but maybe those will ameliorate now that I’m getting a handle on the biggest quandary. All the waiting patiently for schedules to align is about to be over, so at least there’s that.
Anyway, the recovery process is difficult because I can’t simply shift to another project and write away the exhaustion. The artistic well needs filling; I’ve been running on low fuel and low oil for a long time now. So, I’m doing some catch-up reading, and also stuffing other things into my head. I took a spin through wonderful bonkers LJ Smith YAs, polished off the History of Underclothes, got to read an upcoming re-release of Dixon’s (and Macdonald’s) Knight’s Wyrd, took a run through Bukowski’s Post Office because I wanted a little modernity, and finished up a positive blaze of reading activity with E. E. Smith’s First Lensman, which was as utterly bananas as anything written in the sci-fi pulp 50s. Next up is an old paperback translation of The Tale of Genji, though I’d really like a Norton Critical edition, and Davies’s Europe: A History.
Of them all, I’ve probably enjoyed Knight’s Wyrd the most on a purely personal level, since it’s wonderfully structured and just the sort of medieval wonder-tale I dig. I will admit I was expecting it to be a simple sausage-fest, but by the time I got to the first ghost I was both disabused of that notion and all in. First Lensman was posolutely absotively banana-bonkers, and I’m sure that if my own work survives a comparable number of years someone will think the blind spots in it are just as jaw-dropping. Time moves ever on and on, like the Road, down from every door whence it begins.
All of this means I’m feeling ready to get back to work, but I know how this goes. I’ll have a couple good working days, then my body will take vengeance for me daring to re-enter the snakepit after only a token nap and hurried snack. If I took another day off to watch a Cdrama (look, Dylan Wang walking around in velvet robes is a vibe, and I am here for it) I’d possibly escape that part of the process, but I really do have to get some-damn-things done.
There are also birthdays and tax prep this month, both busy in different ways. I’ll be glad when the latter is finally off my plate and I can bloody breathe again. Of course something else will come along to stopper my lungs, I’m sure, and there’s two zero drafts (Rook’s Rose plus Riversinger and Minnowsharp) looking like they want to be finished at about the same time.
I’m sure that will be fun. And Boxnoggin needs his walkies, come hell or high water–but not snow or freezing rain. His tootsies are just too tender, thanks, and my own aren’t happy with that sort of thing either. Fortunately the Early Cherry down the street is making gestures like it wants to bloom, and that will mean spring is assured.
I suppose I’d best get to it as well. The road is difficult, but we’ve got a fighting chance.
Happy Tuesday, my beloveds.