Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

"Just When I Thought I Was Out..."

What can I say? They made me an offer I couldn't refuse. A 20% pay-rise backdated to April - I mean, that's not something you scoff at, is it? With the possible option of going part-time from the New Year on, working 3 days a week or suchlike, and so having a good 4-day run of writing every weekend. Sounds good to me, even if it does mean I might actually have to do me some working instead of shirking at my day job from now on. It's a sair fecht, as the teuchters say. And, hey, if Vellum were to become an overnight international blockbuster (aye, right!), sitting in airport book shops all around the world as the evil antidote to the godawful Left Behind series (full of awe for God... godawful... same thing, innit?)... I mean, if I do get into a situation where it looks like I could sustain myself writing full-time, then that period of half-and-half writing/work should be a good way to build up some discipline.

Discipline, though... Makes my skin crawl, that word, just thinking about it. I hear the word discipline and I picture Tory ministers in schoolboy uniforms with oranges in their mouths, tights over their heads, and a latex-clad dominatrix caning their hairy, flabby buttocks. I don't want that picture in my head, believe me; I have a sick imagination, but I'm not a freakin pervert. Well, OK, strictly speaking, I am a freakin pervert, if you listen to the Moral Moronity, but on a scale of 1 to 10, honestly, I hardly rate. If I don't get laid soon my official membership in the Abomination In The Sight Of God Association may well lapse. They're already threatening to take my Sodomites For Satan card away for having no Kylie Minogue in my CD collection. If I don't look out, one day I'm going to find myself whisked away in the dead of night to wake up in a place where everyone wears rainbow-stripes and insanely cheery smiles...

"Where am I?"
"In the Village."
"What do you want?"
"Will & Grace."

And how I will run.

Anyhoo, I'm getting off the point, that being... drive I can do - it's just a matter of coffee, cigarettes and a slow build-up of thujone in the bloodstream from a glass or two of absinthe every night - but discipline, shit, discipline is something I'm going to have to learn if I want to go full-time eventually. Getting up before 1 in the afternoon when I'm not working, sitting down at the computer and just firing into the novel. Shit, I keep realising I only have till the end of the year to finish Ink, with Vol 4 in rough-as-fuck draft, a shitload of work to be done on it... and revisions for Vellum to be done by late October, and I'm off to New York in a week's time, and I'm still hacking and slashing at Vol 3, fucking stubborn fucking evil fucking son of a bitch bastard that it is, with its umpteen plot strands and its theme of madness and its intransigent fucking final chapter which has to provide some sort of resolution, fer fuck's sake, some sort of closure, rather than just descending into total gibbering chaos as it really wants to do. I had to go and rewrite The Bacchae, didn't I? I had to do my Finnegan's Wake section, didn't I? All midwinter nights and saturnalian chaos, a schizoid descent into dreams and delusions. Right now? Right now, I am the fucking Pierrot/Pentheus character at the heart of it, jaw set in a grim determination to deal with this bloody spirit of revelry and revenge, this Dionysus dancing round me like a Harlequin, blowing raspberries, making lewd gestures with his flute, and all the time leading me down the garden path to my own doom. There's a scene in the movie Hearts Of Darkness, the documentary about the making of Apocalypse Now, where we see Coppola going bugfuck crazy. What am I doing? he says. What am I doing? I'm making the worst movie ever. This is nonsense, pretentious... it's shit... they're going to hate it. I don't even have an ending. What am I doing? I'll be a laughing stock. Etc. I'm not quite hitting the nervous breakdown point yet, but that's the kind of writer I am anyway, swinging from a sort of blind faith unrivalled since Ed Wood, and Coppola's abject horror at the utter fucking insanity of his plan.

So maybe, I'm thinking, just maybe it's a good idea to stick with the security of the job for the moment. Let's get the bugfuck-crazy Cubist epic fantasy out of the way before we go making life any more complicated and insecure than it needs to be. We're really not going to enjoy WorldCon next year if we're on day release in a jacket that zips up the back, and can't take alcohol because it doesn't mix with lithium. So let's just take things reeeeal easy for now.

12-point Courier, I tell myself. Editors like to see manuscripts in 12-point Courier. Not crayon.



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