Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Collection of Exquisites


My wireless keyboard stopped working, & thus I am forced to use ye laptop keyboard, which I hate cos it feels so confin'd.  Writing fiction is impossible on the wee laptop keyboard, and you need to really punch the w key to make it work.  I have, all of my writing life, used a typewriter, and I like the feel of a large keyboard.  So I need, in order to write fiction, one of those large keyboard panels, so that I "feel" like I am at a typewriter. 

I order'd a couple of copies of UNCOMMON PLACES  at Amazon because I needed to see the book now and hold it in me paws.  My publishers are often tardy in getting me copies of my books, and Derrick at Hippocampus is attending World Horror Convention this week-end in Salt Lake City and has been busy getting ready, as he is taking boxes of books with him for his table at ye Dealer's Room.  I just had some Senior Missionaries (married couples often go on missions together after their retirement) visit me yesterday, and they reminded me that General Conference is tis week-end.  Gawd, that REALLY MAKES ME WISH I was going to WHC in Salt Lake, as I would love to roam Temple Square when it overflows with hundreds of visiting Mormons from all over the world.  Oh well.  My new book will be at WHC, even if I cannot.

I have a little paranoid habit of having to carefully read my own books once they are publish'd, hunting for those elusive misprints that I missed during proofing.  The typos in the book are my own fault because the texts are taken directly from my Word docs.  I'm finding some typos in "Uncommon Places," the last piece in the book.  They are careless things not easily caught, such as typing "you" when it should be "your"--not caught by spell check cos they are actual words, and not easy to find when I am proofing, at which I am poor as it is.  David and Derrick and I went carefully over the text of the book, yet still......

The book is my second-best, I think.  Combine it with Some Unknown Gulf of Night and you have the finest fiction that I have yet written, probably the finest work that I shall ever create.  There is very little overlap of tales from other books, except for The Tangled Muse, the original works from which are reprinted in this trade paperback.  The spectre of my obsession with Oscar Wilde permeates the book, and for that reason I included two older stories, "The Host of Haunted Air" and "The Zanies of Sorrow."  In "Host" I have a troupe of Tcho-Tcho peoples (invented by Derleth for his Mythos fiction and mention'd by Lovecraft in, I think, "The Whisperer in Darkness."  In my story I have them perform ye danse of Salome from Wilde's dark play.  "The Zanies of Sorrow" is a story in which I try'd to express many aspects of Wilde, how people at first found him utterly grotesque upon first meeting him, but then were charmed by his manner and his talk.  The story's title is taken from the letter that Wilde wrote to Bosie from from prison that is known as "De Profundis", in a section where Wilde is writing about prison clothing:  "Our very dress makes us grotesques.  We are the zanies of sorrow.  We are clowns whose hearts are broken."  I read that and I knew I had to write a story called "The Zanies of Sorrow," I just had to find the story in my imagination.  So I included the story in my new book, which is haunted so by Wilde.

Indeed, Wilde's influence utterly corrupted my plans to invent a new setting for future stories, a modern and urban setting.  I was going to try and write a series of New Weird stories.  I had to invent my own New Weird city.  So I invented Gershom, a city of Artistic Exiles.  It was to be so modern.  Yet, when I think of exiles I immediately think of Wilde, and so I invented a recurring character called Sebastian Melmoth, which was the name that Wilde took when he went into exile in France after his release from prison.  And then I based other characters on people whom Wilde knew, and thus my oh so modern city became a queer concoction of fin-de-siecle London and Paris, Victorian up ye arse.  So much for modernity.  My first two tales set in Gershom are also included in ye new paperback from HippocampusPress.

Okay, tis laptp keyboard is pissing me off.  Not even going to bother correcting those two typos.  I may need to go to Office Depot and buy a new keyboard panel, bt that's okay cos the one I have isn't quite large enough.  Hope ye are well, my loves.


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