I've finished a new story. "The Ghosts of Water" clocks in at about 6,000 words. (It was about 6,150 or so when I "finished" the first draft--but I've been happily slicing.) It has been too long since I finished something. But I am happy to have this written, beginning, end and all the lovely bits in the middle, even if its not perfect and will never be.
Some of the funny things--or, rather, the things that amused me while I was writing--have to go. Some have already been cut (including the reference to Pigs in Space--one can only make so many Muppet references), while the fate of others (like the weird reference to pie) have yet to be decided. The line about the dumpling, though, is staying. I tell myself that I'm trying to even out the tone of the whole story, so that it doesn't go from rather light and slightly surreal to rather dark and science fictional in such a bizarre and shocking way. Really, though, I know that these things are only funny to me.
One rejection this week: a brief but personal note from Ellen Datlow. I continue to continue.
"Ohntai" is back on the chopping block, as promised, and the three scenes become one plan, while nice, is not working quite as planned. Two scenes will go together nicely, and have, but the third ... no go. And it occurred to me: I don't have to keep writing these same events in different ways and being frustrated that they don't work. I could have something else happen. Really, there's nothing to stop me. (Though I've reached a point that I just want to say to this thing, "Just be good and leave me alone already!")
But, instead of bashing my head against this particular piece of fiction any longer, it's time to shift to "Safe Passage" or whatever its going to be called. The bagpipe story, how about that?
It's interesting, figuring out how to arrange my life and my schedule so that I can get some writing done every week without suffering from a serious loss of sleep or sanity or other important things. It's meant that almost all the things that I used to tell myself about the conditions I need for writing have gone out the window. I used to need to be alone, totally alone, in silence. I needed large stretches of time--and hour, at least, preferably more, so that I could just lose myself and go. I needed to write at night, or at least in the late evening. From midnight to about 2 AM used to be a great time to write.
Now, I write when I can, even if it's just for five or ten or twenty minutes. I don't get many words that way, but they add up. I still like silence and solitude, but I'm getting used to the presence of others in the same building (though not the same room!) and can block out a fair amount of TV noise, chatter, music, etc. And night? Forget it. After work, sure, and before or after dinner, but I'm rarely even awake at any time that can be called night anymore.
It's one thing to know that you'll need a day job, that you'll need to fight to make this work, that it won't be easy and all the rest. It's another thing to truly realize that this is your life and your chance to do what you can. Or, rather--my life and my chance. I'm not going to win the lottery (especially as I don't play the lottery) and no one's just going to hand me a book contract and an advance and tell me to go quit my job and write. I have to earn that. Bit by bit by bit...
Speaking of job, mine continues. The position is being unionized and made official, but has to be publically posted. So as of Monday, I am officially competing for the job that I currently hold. As its my job, I'm quite sure that I'm a capable candidate. I'm just not sure who else is going to apply...
Anyway, I'm going to an SF party tonight, and taking a walk to the library now in the sunshine and warmth, and that's that.