Some miscellany for today.
I owe thanks to my anonymous commenter of a few days ago. Whoever s/he was, s/he drove a spike of traffic to my blog the likes of which I haven't seen since I got an acceptance in late January. Anonymous criticism: the gift that keeps on giving.
Speaking of comments, a handful of readers (okay really just like three readers) have complained that leaving comments on this blog is annoying and buggy. I didn't understand how that could be, as comments were as open as I could get them - anonymity OK, no spambot text boxes required, etc. A whiz friend has helped me to solve this problem, with any luck, so comment away, even with silly comments, because I love comments. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled comments yearning to speak your mind.
On Tuesday I got the most painfully awesome rejection I imagine I'll ever get (after waiting for six months): "I really wish I could use it, but unfortunately, I can't. ...I suspect you won't have much trouble placing it elsewhere, though, and I look forward to seeing more from you in the future." I laughed a bit at the first half of this last sentence, as it's a pretty exact echo of someone else's words about this story (crazy robot), and this is my third rejection for it.
Despite the positiveness of this rejection, I'm not sure what to do next with this story. It's a bit long as compared to many markets' preferred lengths - over 8,000 words - and it's definitely in the realm of SF. Problem is, this rejection was primarily because the story's too soft in the science for this market. Also, it has sex and violence in it, which nixes markets like Clarkesworld and Orson Scott Card's Etc. Too long (and not right) for Shimmer, and Strange Horizons didn't want it. I'm going to scour Duotrope again for a market that'll suit, but I'm not that optimistic, as my notes from the fall (when I did this the first time) indicate pretty slim pickings for a long, soft, violent, sexy SF story. Maybe I'll just retire it and write some more.
The itch to write has started to come back into my fingers. I have plenty of ideas in my notes book, but none of them are developed, which means a lot of work before the regular work begins. Boo. And I've really enjoyed a total O.D. on movies over the last few weeks. (Like, a gross gluttonous mass of movies. Three a day, sometimes.) But I think I'll have to get back to the red chair - and the notebook - pretty soon.
On to books: I read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender on Monday, and passionately adored it. I read it all day, compulsively, to the point where when I emerged from the book, all sorts of things had gone on while I was reading that I had neither heard nor seen. Like the dishes getting done and the dishwasher getting started, and my husband switching video games. I'd had no clue at all. GoodReaders were not so kind to the book, but I believe they were looking for plot where there was intended to be emotion and concreteness where suggestiveness was purposeful. There were answers I wanted badly to know at the end of the book, but answering them was not the point; the journey was the point. I recognized so much of myself, cringing in horror, in various places. What an extraordinary book.
And I finished Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades. Worth reading for the handful of essays that were good, but the essays that weren't good - most of them - pissed me off. Some of them were little more than advertisements for whatever work the essayist did, whether s/he was a writer or an educator or an event promoter (!). You may be unsurprised to learn that the authors who had some dabbling knowledge and/or lacked personal experience with BDSM? They saw nothing wrong with the power dynamics in the books, while those who had deep, broad knowledge of the subject were distressed by the relationship portrayed. Gee, I wonder what that means.
I also finished Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber, which took me a very long time for such a short book. I didn't like to start right in on another story as soon as I was finished with the last. The stories tired me, they were so lavish and thick with detail and subtlety. I have a short list of friends to whom I want to send copies of this book, because despite all that it was a remarkable book. But I have this feeling like she's an author that those friends already know about (which is part of why those friends are such cool people), and I'm the last one to the party, and I don't want to embarrass myself.
And finally, I started By Nightfall, Michael Cunningham's latest. He is best known for The Hours, but his 2006 book Specimen Days basically made me want nothing more or less than to write a book exactly like Specimen Days. (And if it takes me my entire life, I will.) The first hundred pages of By Nightfall are...kind of bad, to my great surprise and disappointment. But I'm planning to read the whole thing anyway, so I'll keep you posted.