Things we’ve learned this month: people die. In fact, over the last two months, any number of readers of this blog have found this out.
Okay, we knew that already. I still remember the weird shock that someone close to me COULD die, when I was fourteen and my paternal grandfather died. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know it happened – the test is simple. Are your great great grandparents alive? If not there’s a good chance you’re mortal. If yes, are their parents alive? If not, see previous. – it just had never happened and some part of the human mind is experiential. We believe what we’ve experienced. And somehow experiencing death in books is not the same, because those people having been part of your life your entire life.
I suppose it’s the same thing when a friend your age dies. At least when you’re middle-aged and the death is not accidental. It leaves you feeling a touch of memento moris and carpe diem. And as we all know when you come down with a touch of Latin it’s all downhill from there.
Okay, fine, seriously, experienced – which surprises me a little as my faith has never been iron-clad – I’m feeling this as though Alan has gone away. It’s just that when your friends move out or leave town, you can call them and eventually see them again – which obviously doesn’t apply when they die.
What I mean is the “feel” of it is that he still exists but elsewhere, but not being able to get in touch with him is going to make things very tough and does, coming up against small things every other day, because so many of our history and references are joint, that even though in the last few years we only saw each other a few times a year, you hit that spot in your mind a lot – like stubbing your toe in the dark.
Anyway, among the things I learned is that when your friends die it’s not like when a beloved pet dies. I wrote Darkship Thieves as a NaNoWrimo the month Petronius the Arbiter died, and I spent a lot of time just writing. Oh, I missed Pete a lot, but somehow it was easier to get over or forget for a few hours.
So, NaNowrimo came to complete halt for two and a half weeks. It’s moving again now, but yesterday was a lost day because I had to clean the house, at least minimally. For some reason, I don’t transition well from house-cleaning to writing. It’s not being exhausted, it’s a mental switch thing. I pop out of writing mode and into “Is there really a mountain of cat toys under that bookcase” mode.
Some things in life are like that. One of the things I realized, back when I still sent stories out on spec (how odd that sounds. I will be doing it again soon, too, with Analog) is that I went through phases. There were phases in which I wrote like a banshee and stuff stayed in the drawer, and phases in which I sent stuff out.
Even the vaunted year of a story a week, nothing got sent out until I missed the occasional week. Not sure why, that was just the way it was.
Now the same seems to apply to the indie publishing. I have a mountain of short stories ready to put up – mine and Robert’s – and while short stories make almost nothing, they do help greatly if I keep one free a week over this season. Only, I’ve not done it. I even have covers. But the minutiae detail seems like … an impossible hurdle.
I’m going to try to get something up for cyber Monday and put some things on sale, though.
And today, since the cleaning is done, I’m going to be working on Through Fire. I dreamed the rest of the book last night, which we know is what I do before I finish it.
You see, for the two years I’ve been slogging through this, I’ve had this scene in my mind, of Zen with someone drifting in the ocean at the end of the novel. I now know who is in the boat with her, and why they’re drifting, and why that scene is the needed end to THIS novel. I can only say “you’ll see.” It used to puzzle me excessively. But now I “get” it and it works with the theme and everything.
Okay. And now I go write.