Counting centiBrads.

I actually got my tenth rejection on Monday, but it’s been a very long week. (Well, tenth since I’ve started tracking.) Still, this means I’ve actually completed my second centiBrad. This is a measure I like to track, since Bradbury apparently got hundreds of rejections before he got his first acceptance.

(Please note that I said apparently: while he’s spoken of writing a thousand dreadful stories and getting them rejected, I’m not sure if that’s literal. After a discussion in which someone told me that they’d rather believe “thousands of fans” who attributed a Le Guin quote to Tolkein than attribute it correctly[1], I am particularly hoping to avoid presenting vague anecdote as solid fact.)

Anyway! Therefore, five rejections is a hundredth of what Bradbury had (probably at least) gotten; five rejections is a centiBrad.

It’s not fun, or anything. But rejections happen (acceptance theoretically might happen, but rejections definitely happen), so since they’re there, it’s a metric to track them with. That’s something.

[1] Most people, I’ve found, will be cheerily polite when you mention that a quote’s been misattributed. And then one person will fire back with “Well have you considered that the author you mentioned might have used plagiarism? I’ve never heard of them.” Oy.

The jaws that bite.

I am having one of those days, and today that day is one of those which involves trying to come up with a great long list of creatures (probably mythological or folkloric) which are particularly associated with biting or human-eating (most often corpses, but I am willing to be flexible).

Off the top of my head:

  • Ghouls. I don’t feel this one needs elaboration, except to point out that I do not mean D&D ghouls.
  • Redcaps, if the terrible bite schtick actually predates White Wolf’s Changeling: The Dreaming. I can’t actually find a cite for that (yet), and simply having huge teeth doesn’t count.
  • Aswangs. Creatures from Filipino folklore that eat human meat–corpses, but also the living, or unborn fetuses.
    (Fetusii? >googles< No, fetuses. Right, then–carry on.)
  • Zombies, the movie version. (The light of my life actually had to point this one out to me. I have no idea why.)
  • Werewolves, not because the bite is (sometimes) infectious, but strictly for the killing and eating of humans when it shows up. Also a hat-tip to CS Lewis and the classic line “Where I bite, I hold till I die, and even after death they must cut out my mouthful from my enemy’s body and bury it with me.”
  • Related to that, the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. Not one I would have initially thought of, but the swallowing of bodies whole and in such rapid succession is impressive, even if they were alive. I may be being swayed by the fact that in some versions of the story, LRRH is actually called “Red Cap”.
  • Wendigos. Which I also do not feel needs elaboration.

Vampires specifically do not count, because of all the surviving/not noticing of the bite (at least the first time) and the distinction between drinking and eating.

Anything else coming to mind?

Is it the weekend? Why, I believe it is.

It has been a horribly unproductive week. Trying to fix that, in the sense of change it rather than in the sense of catch up on it. There is a point at which you really need to just accentuate change going forward or you will spend half your future putting bandages on the past, and another quarter of it grumbling about it when the cats wake you up around six in the morning.

(Just to take a for-example, for example, that is.)

Still working on my cardigan (cardigan is a sort of horrible word, I think, but “zip-front sweater” sounds rather precious and clunky), and still hope to have it done for London, but have started to seriously wonder if it’s going to be at all wearable in London in August. It is going to be a very warm sweater; the seed stitch holds a lot of heat. That said, I expect to do several hours of bussing this weekend, and I’m at the point where it’s perfectly suitable bus knitting, so while I am in the throes of anxiety over wasted effort I can probably get another few rows done.

(Also I should put in a lifeline; I’m definitely far enough along that one is warranted.)

In other news have been once again surprised at how genuinely cheering it is to have a woven knot of ragged, chewed, slightly damp T-shirt strips deposited in your lap, provided they are deposited by a hopeful dog whose tail is wagging because she wants to see you smile and play with her before she finishes reducing said chew toy to its component parts. Some days it’s the little things that keep you going.

Unnatural colours

First off: there’s a 12-part comic series (written by J. Michael Straczynski, pencilled by Gary Frank) called Midnight Nation. Interesting premise and well-handled, but I mention it because there’s one scene in it that leads up to a double-splash page that I think is both the most satisfying and saddest one I’ve ever seen in comics.

(It’s not hard to be the saddest; double-splash pages aren’t usually sad. The satisfaction, there’s a little more competition for.)

Changing topics: I used to dye my hair. Started with fuschia overtop the brown, went to pure fuschia, red, green (loved the green most, of all the colours, but it did not do me many favours), purple, and purple-blue (a single colour, not streaks). Also there was a weekend when it was white, when I bleached out an old colour and gave it a couple of days of conditioning to recover before I went back to the purple-blue.

(I actually really liked the white, but the roots would have been a timesink to keep on top of.)

I realized the other day that I’d been planning to dye my hair again for about eighteen months. And there have been reasons not to do it, mostly job-related.

That said, I am sure that if I’d come home to find the bleach and dye and an uninterrupted block of time sitting in the bathroom, I would have made it work. And I really don’t want to hit twenty months, twenty-two months, two years of not doing something I want to do because of reasons excuses.

So. March. (March because I will not feel stressed by too soon a deadline, and because I won’t need to dryclean my winter coat.) Coloured hair again.

By main persistance, to unscheduled absence

There are two quotes that I keep thinking of when it comes to writing. One is from Maya Angelou, speaking directly. The other is from Stephen King, speaking as a character. Angelou’s I have handy, it’s

What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks “the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat,”… And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, “Okay. Okay. I’ll come.”

The Stephen King one I cannot find right now, but the gist of it is along the lines of “starting to write feels like French-kissing a corpse”. And while I can’t speak to the truth of that statement, I believe it. Because those first few moments when you’re coming in cold and the story is more a list than a sequence of events… Yes. I will completely believe it is like French-kissing a corpse, and goddammit it’s so hard to get anything moving.

Still, we persevere, yes?

Alright. I’m running on three hours sleep, and I actually just found this–I thought I’d posted it a week ago–so I am going back to bed. When I wake up everything will be a lot more coherent, because that is what Enough Sleep does for you.

As the riders rode on by him, he heard one call his name…

I like Westerns. Not as much as I like noir, but I like them. (I actually think there’s something to be said about the overlap between the two genres, but that’s a sidepoint.)

However: I love Weird Westerns, from the steampunk through the fantastic to the straight-up horror–admittedly with a strong preference for the horror end of things, but that’s just me. And there’s a new anthology possibly coming out, and the list of contributors is kind of making me wonder why I have heard almost nothing about it.

(What I have heard? Lucy A. Snyder tweeted about it. That’s it. I realize I may have missed some things, but…)

I am trying not to gush too much about that list, but one of the people on it wrote a scene in a horror novel that left me light-headed and faint. Another has written the only zombie story that made me cry. And there are thirteen authors on that list, and at the lowest pledge level that comes out to 77 cents a story and that’s not even counting any other contributors since it’s going to be open for submissions, and…

I get that genre fiction is one of those weird niche things, and Weird Westerns are the teeny-tiny cross-section of the genres that get the least space at our local public library.[1] I get that cash is often tight. I do.

But dammit, this is the Weird West, that place of high-noon glare and shrieking steam, of voices on the wind and grinning horrors in long black coats, of long shadows and bootheels clocking off the hours to midnight. And I believe with the heart of a hopeful fan that there are more than sixty-seven other people who want to get their hands on this anthology. So I figure that some people who would like it simply have not heard about it, and I am trying to pass word along.

Dark Trails. That link right there.

Maybe it’s not your thing. But if you know someone who’d like it, maybe pass the word along?

[1] It’s true. It’s sad. A bookshelf unit has six shelves each, and the horror/western paperbacks only take up three shelves combined. It kind of makes me happy that they’re next to each other, though.