The Desires of the Doppelganger

Esme puts up a new chapter of a new Chastity Thorne novel this month.  September will be the last true “Esme” update, with a story excerpt and everything, so if all goes according to plan that will be something special.  October, as it stands, will have a few mini-updates where Esme simply lets us know how she feels in the lead up to the wedding, I think.  I have nothing else of importance to say today.

Rejections: 27.

Poetry???

I don’t like writing poetry.  I simply don’t — I feel as if prose is much more suited to the way I think.  This does not mean I dislike poetry, as I loves me some Milton and Yeats and Frost and and E.A. Robinson and E.L. Masters and Wendy Cope and so on and so forth.  I just don’t like writing the stuff — poetry rarely seems to afford me the opportunity to say what I need or want to say.

Given that, it is not impossible for me to write (really stupid) poetry.  Usually this ends up being part of a class assignment, and I do everything in my power to make the poem as obnoxious as possible for my professor.  For instance, I was just digging through my archives when I found the following beauty from my poetry class — we had to write a villanelle about any subject of our choosing, so naturally I decided to write mine about Batman and call it “Super-Villanelle.”

“Super-Villanelle”

There are few who venture to this height;
There are those who fall, or never rise.
Then there is me, and I am the night.

Now, without the luxury of light,
Those below can only fear surprise.
There are few who venture to this height.

It is in this darkness that I delight:
I slip through shadow, I hardly need my eyes.
And that is me, and I am the night.

I aid them, and they hate me still despite;
The papers print my name alongside lies.
There are few who venture to this height.

I feel the wind — for an instant I’m in flight,
Clouds like angels’ wings besmear the skies,
Then there is me, and I am the night.

To the meaning in your life hold tight;
It’s yours alone, and with you it dies.
There are few who venture to that height.
Then there is me, and I am the Knight.

Of course, if I wanted to be true to the pun of my title, I should have written it about the Joker.  If I you want to write about Batman or Superman you should use heroic couplets!

(Yes, I used that joke on my professor.  Yes, he almost threw a Norton Anthology of Poetry (Unabridged) at me for it.)

A Sudden Spout of Activity

As we move on into mid-June, Esme once again updates her blog.  This is another Maya story, a series of ideas I have that revolve around some sort of smart-mouthed prostitute/assassin who habitually ends up in rather odd situations.  You’ll notice these stories focus more on plot and character than normal Esme endeavors; they’re altogether more serious stories, though still pretty weird.  This is because I got the idea for this milieu before Esme was even a twinkle in my eye — I actually wrote the first story, “Satisfaction Guaranteed,” circa 2003 or 04.  When I decided I wanted to have more than excerpts on the Esme journal last fall, I pulled out the old story, rewrote it so that it suited how the characters had evolved in that time, and posted it.  I have a few other Maya stories rolling around in my head, and I think one of them could be an honest-to-goodness novel.  If I ever write it then I will be, for serious, a supernatural romance (or at least urban fantasy) author.  Whoa.

Speaking of novels, I sort of completed a new novel manuscript a few days ago, a thing that would likely be sold as a “short novel.”  It’s rather strange, a non-supernatural satire of my experiences with college life and the vague direction my generation is heading.  It’s basically Evelyn Waugh fanfic, though I’m waiting to hear back from some of my friends on whether or not it’s any good.  If it is, then I certainly have no clue what to do with it.  My experiences of bashing my head against the wall in the speculative fiction market have not prepared me for finding people to reject my attempts at “serious” fiction.

Oh, but before I forget, more Esme news.  Despite thinking it is a completely insipid platform, brought to the fore only by text messaging (which is itself a completely insipid form of communication), I have opened a Twitter account to expand the Esme fiction and give us some insight into the mind of Esme’s assistant, Alissa.

I’ve also managed to procure a passport and get my scholarships approved for my study in England, so that’s how things look on that front.

Oh, and in two days I will be getting my wisdom teeth taken out.  Thanks, human evolution.

SNAPDRAGON

And Esme’s May entry is up over on her blog.

I am hesitant to call this a return to form for her, since it seems to be a bit less heavy on the awkward sexuality than her stuff usually is.  It’s also a little longer than most of her novel excerpts and, I think, there’s a lot more plot-centric content.  It’s a completely stupid and ludicrous plot, yes, but there’s just a lot of it.  Also, fewer puns!  Bottom line: it’s pretty stupid, but that’s how Esme entries go, and it’s the first piece of real supernatural romance we’ve had since November, so we should count ourselves lucky.  Five months until the wedding!  Color me excited.

Cthulolita

Cthulolita, loath of my life, fear of my lexicography. My syllables, my sanity. Kuh-thoo-lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a temerarious trip of five steps down the palate to tap, timidly, on the teeth. Kuh. Thoo. Lo. Lee. Ta.

It was Tulu, plain Tulu, to the Tcho-Tcho people, standing four feet ten in their squalid jungle. It was Q’thulu in Quechua. It was Kutulu in deep Y’ha-nthlei. It was Dread Cthulhu in the archives at Miskatonic. But in my darkest dreams it was always Cthulolita.

Did it have a precursor? It did, indeed it did. In point of fact, there might have been no Cthulolita at all had I not read, one summer, a certain incantation in a certain aged and worm-eaten manuscript. In a princedom on the shores of dim Carcosa, lost Carcosa. Oh when? About as many years before the blasphemous bubbles crawled out from beneath the thumbs of their five-lobed southern lords and loped on the shores in the shape of an ape. You can always count on a madman for a fancy prose style.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, again I say, I do not know what has become of Clare Quilty, though I think — almost hope — that he is in peaceful oblivion, if there be anywhere so blessed a thing. Look at this tangle of tentacles.

I’m Burning for You

I just finished my last final, which was for an Intro to US History class and ugh whatever it’s over.  Time for summer.

I haven’t been blogging about my DAILY LIFE because honestly I’ve been so fucking busy it’s not worth it.  However, that doesn’t mean interesting things didn’t happen to me.  For instance, about a week and a half ago I went to wash my hands in the dorm bathroom and the water came out boiling hot, so I spent the night in the emergency room because you would not believe that pain goddamn.  Apparently there had been a problem with the pipes the day before and campus maintenance thought they’d fixed it.  Anyway, I got all the blisters popped and even though it was only second degree burns I had to visit a plastic surgeon to make sure the healing process wasn’t going to do something weird, since my fingers were burned and I guess finger burns like to heal by webbing your digits together.

But things are fine in that regard now, I’m off the bandages and the dead skin on my hand is falling off in horrendous sheets like some disgusting snowstorm.  I’d post pictures but that would be totally gross!

In other news, I’ve hit 22 rejections, almost all of which gave responses that were generally unhelpful.  Here is something I will outline that frustrates me about the speculative fiction market at the moment: There are form rejection slips (which I understand completely) but they do nothing in the way of telling you why something was rejected.  I do not feel like counting the number of form rejections I’ve received that run along the lines of “Thanks for the manuscript, it was really great, but no.  Also, please submit again in the future!”

What the hell do you want from me, people?  Of course, I’ve received a few personal rejections that also ran along these lines, but that was less infuriating.  That was at least some human contact.  A form rejection implies my story wasn’t good enough for special attention — okay, I get that — but why.  I have no idea where I should be taking my writing if I want to sell based on these responses alone.  The only assumption I can operate on is that my fiction is bone-crushingly fantastic in every way, but I’m not submitting the right stories to the right markets.

The few responses I’ve received with actual critcism (even if it was a few words, like “Fails to hold interest”) have been the most helpful.  Of course, criticism can sometimes be inscrutable — an sf story I wrote was called a Bat Durston rather pejoratively, for instance, but weirdly enough that was what I wanted.  That was why I wrote the story, because Bat Durstons are hilarious!  And I submitted it to a venue specializing in comedic sf!  But, well, you win some and you lose some.

Incidentally, I also had something of an acceptance recently.  My campus literary journal, Crucible, accepted a piece of flash fiction I wrote entitled “A Measure of Weekend Minutes for a Penny,” making a total of three pieces of mine to appear in its hallowed pages. Well, three pieces I know of. (The other two were in my freshman year.) I didn’t even know this was accepted so I didn’t attend the release party, I found out from a friend later, and I think that’s pretty hilarious. Anyway, here’s the story.

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