A Conceit Abandoned…

Hi. Sorry I haven’t called, or written. It’s not you, honestly. I’m just at a weird stage of my life right now… and so on. Let’s abandon that conceit and get on with it.

So, another notch in my belt: “By The Light Of A Drowning Sun” has been accepted for Terror At The Beach, coming in July or thereabouts from Noodle Doodle Press. It’s a story I began last year for a different aquatic anthology but just could not get right, despite three attempts. Well, it works now, and shall be inflicted upon the world accordingly. I’ll pester you about buying it when the time is near.

Apart from that, no more news on submissions (except for an immediate knockback of a poem I subbed for a cannibal anthology in the spirit of “what the hell, give it a bash”). I have been bashing them out, though; thus far in 2014, I have almost reached my previous submissions record. At this rate, I’ll have sent out three times the subs I managed in 2013 by the end of the year. As long as I get back into writing new short fiction…

Which I have been doing, although I must admit that one of those pieces was for an anthology called Zombies In Japan. Yes, that’s right – a third living dead tale, after having a whinge about the ubiquity of terrible zombie fiction. HYPOCRITE! SELLOUT! WANKER! But wait! Of course, it’s a completely different take on the theme, so much so that the story might be knocked back for being too tangential to the theme (again). But it was fun to do, and about half the writing time was actually spent researching Japanese architecture, language and customs. I listened to the split 7″s by Chelsea Wolfe and King Dude beforehand, which helped me lumber the tale with the somewhat improbably pretentious title of “We Fight (Like) Gods, We Die (Like) Dogs”. (Well, it’s a change from my early writing days, when I thought nothing of calling my first novel manuscript Fear Of The Dark. Yawn.)

On the novel front, I’m still bashing away at drafts of A Banquet Of Broken Hearts. I finished the third one on Easter Sunday after twelve hours of work (interrupted by four hours of band practice) and was looking forward to sitting down and reading through on the Monday – but when I did, I found something I wanted to change in the first fucking sentence, and so Draft 3.5 began. Whenever I assume I’m done, I look back at what I accomplished last week and wonder what the hell I was thinking. It’s mostly little things, like ditching unnecessary sentences or rephrasing paragraphs or cutting out more of the semi-colons that infest my writing like pubic lice on a slutty hobo, but a lot of little things add up to something big. And this novel has to be absolutely watertight before I foist it upon the world, as it will serve to some large degree as my calling card. It’s not enough for it to be better than a lot of the fiction I read by others (and I believe it already is); it has to be the very best I can make it, with no amateurish mistakes or plot holes or mangled English in it AT ALL. It’s hard work, but it will be so worth it.

Actually, since I’m a writer, let me tell you a brief story. One of my early memories is of the kindergarten playground, and in that playground was a small train. I remember painting the train with water, taking satisfaction in the way its reds and blacks would come to life with a fresh coat of moisture – but by the time I’d finished one section, the water had dried and I would have to start over again. And that, ladies/gentlemen/other, is how it feels writing this novel.

In other news, icecocoon has gone through initial guitar/bass rehearsals in my lounge and has now progressed to full-band jams; with luck, our 7″ single will make it past the latest test pressing and be out before we all die. (It was supposed to drop in mid-November.) I’ve also been writing and recording bits and pieces of music for other projects of mine, and will shortly be starting work on the score for Jon X. Hoh’s The Exchange Student 2. What I’ve been reading: The Man From The Diogenes Club by Kim Newman, Floating Staircase by Ronald Malfi, Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite, Tomie by Junji Ito, The Crow by James O’Barr (at last!), Nemo: The Roses Of Berlin by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill, Deadrush by Yvonne Navarro, Fashion Beast by Alan Moore, Malcolm McLaren and Facundo Percio, The Secret Of Anatomy by Mark Morris. What I’ve been listening to: a shitload of The Cure, ’90s Prince, Kate Bush, Anthrax, Behemoth, MGMT, Flying Lotus, Neon Bogart, Magic Dirt, M83, Duran Duran, The Mad Capsule Markets, Zombie Ghost Train. And watching: Fallen Angel, Marchlands, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, Nurse 3D, Chuck Series 5, Four Flies On Grey Velvet, Hardware.

Well, that’s quite enough of that nonsense – I’ve got to go to band practice now. ‘Til next time, lovers.
– MxRxD


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