Another Billboard Soul
Definitions of the Week:
Honesty. (1) Something to be fondly avoided in serious conversations. (2) One of two options people resort to only when their imaginations fail them and the silence becomes unbearable. The other is pretending to be distracted by something on TV.
Philosophy. (1) A kind of semantic manure, either heaped upon beautiful flowers until they die, or spread liberally across ideological weeds. (2) A rash developed by certain thoughts of weak constitution, insuring they will be incessantly scratched.
Conservatism. (1) The urge to hold one’s testicles while asleep. (Not to be confused with Fascism, the urge to seize the testicles of others). (2) The tendency to confuse good luck for hard work, and beneficiaries for benefactors. (3) The ability of language to defeat reason.
Liberalism. (1) The tendency to sleep without underwear. (2) The ability of reason to fuck everything up.
Socialism. The reason Scandinavians are healthier, wealthier, and better in bed. See, Truth. Related terms, Boredom, American Literacy–the Decline of.
Mathias Clasen, who organized my recent lecture series in Denmark, sent me The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, and I’ve been thinking in definitions instead of aphorisms ever since. The thing is brilliant–tyrannically so. I imagine once I begin working on the epigrams for The Unholy Consult I will revert back to type.
I should be working on copy-edits for The White-Luck Warrior by now, but there seems to be some problem in the bureaucratic pipeline. I sometimes have trouble deciding precisely where I fit into the sanitation flowchart. Am I the toilet, or the waste treatment plant? It flatters me to think I’m a terminus of some kind. I mean, who wants to be a sewer…
Speaking of which, Disciple of the Dog is still doing nothing sales-wise in Canada and the UK, at least on Amazon. Having that ridiculous PW review posted at the top probably doesn’t help. Even still, a number of positive reviews have popped up across the web. If anything, they remind me of the kind of guarded praise The Darkness that Comes Before received when it first hit the blogosphere. The biggest beef seems to be the way the story ends: where I thought I was doing something spare and Chandleresque, many seem to think I was too hasty.
Another lesson learned. Here’s hoping that Disciple has a chance to profit from it.
For a couple of weeks now I’ve been exchanging emails regarding Disciple, cynicism, and murder with Jim Sallis for the Mulholland Books website, a conversation which should go up anytime now. My wife and I had an absolute riot with Jim (along with George Martin) in Spain a couple of years back. Aside from being one of the most funny, interesting people I’ve ever met, he’s an award-winning SF and crime fiction novelist. One of his more recent novels, Drive, is about to become a major Hollywood production.
Maybe that will goose things, earn a few more reviews.
Either way, the time has come for me to reconsider my options, career-wise. For the first time in years I find myself without a backlog of projects. Unnerving. After The Unholy Consult is done, I could very well be done, at least as a full-time writer. My literary Grand Armee is over halfway to Moscow, the supply lines are growing ever more tenuous, and a long, hard, economic winter has begun. The Second Apocalypse is proving to be a gamble of Napoleonic proportions.
There’s no cause to fear for the completion of the series. There’s no turning back now. The question is one of how long it will take to finish without the luxury of time.
A luxury that you all have afforded… If only there were more of you!