Thursday, March 12, 2015

With Razor Eyes

Sometimes I stare at what I've typed, and wonder how James Blish, Damon Knight, or Joanna Russ would have torn it apart. Then I understand that I can only go forward if I read with razor eyes.


Monday, March 9, 2015

To The Darkling Sky By Die-Lon Drive!

Yesterday, the pharmacist called me "Monsieur DIE-Lon."

Her mispronunciation embarrassed her, but I thought it was a great, forceful name. I'm going to scream it out the next time I leap from a skyscraper and soar into the starry welkin.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Revision

I love to revise.

Writing a first draft can be like hurtling down a mountainside, on a bike without brakes; but revision is the quiet contemplation of sound, rhythm, and meaning, the calm quest for the right words.

All the same, I can't enjoy a meal before I cook it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Escape Does Not Work



From "Books," by Joanna Russ, in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November 1979:

It isn't the realists who find life dreadful. It's the romancers. After all, which group is trying to escape from life? Reality is horrible and wonderful, disappointing and ecstatic, beautiful and ugly. Reality is everything. Reality is what there is. Only the hopelessly insensitive find reality so pleasant as to never want to get away from it. But painkillers can be bad for the health, and even if they were not, I am damned if anyone will make me say that the newest fad in analgesics is equivalent to the illumination which is the other thing (besides pleasure) art ought to provide. Bravery, nobility, sublimity, and beauty that have no connection with the real world are simply fake, and once readers realize that escape does not work, the glamor fades, the sublime aristocrats turn silly, the profundities become simplifications, and one enters (if one is lucky) into the dreadful discipline of reality and art, like "The Penal Colony"....
There is no pleasure like finding out the realities of human life, in which joy and misery, effort and release, dread and happiness, walk hand-in-hand.

We had better enjoy it. It's what there is.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

First-Draft Invocation

Whatever guides the typing, be it Muse,
Or mute subconscious prompter with a sign,
Guide me, now. I swear by every bruise,
By every bump I gained from every pine
That I bashed into head-first in the blues
And greens of hazy dreaming at your news
Of hidden pathways, vague and serpentine,
That I will heed your whispers and your clues,
And (fingers crossed) avoid the asinine.

(And yes, that rhymed couplet in the middle is a deliberate first-draft "mistake." Bumps and bruises!)