FULL BLEED: OUT ON THE MEZZANINE
Probably should have titled this one "Meltdown" but I went for something a little friendlier and I'm giving a particular Massive Attack album a spin this morning, so this seems a little more appropriate.
Reassessment mode going down. Variety of reasons for that. Mostly because the last couple months have presented themselves as untenable long-term positions. But then what is besides moving out to a house in the desert? Honestly that sounds just great. Peace, quiet, critters. What's not to love? Or at least like? Or at least derive some succor from?
I know. That's not a likely path given my circumstance. So I have to do the next best thing and move to a mostly broadcast mode and not passive receiver mode. You know there's a lot of you out there? It's intimidating and not that anyone means to. Just listening to everyone is a lot. And I know I'm not even that popular (hell, I'm barely obscure.)
I can't really imagine what life would be like with say ten thousand followers. Or a hundred. Or twice that. Having to deal with the influx of reviews and takes and counter-takes just around my work much less everything. Yikes. I had a rough enough time when I was writing STRANGEWAYS and tracking reviews, and only had a few hundred readers maybe.
Of course, reviews are a funny business. One will say "totally predictable, boring" and another will say "I couldn't follow a thing here," and both are about the same work. What are you going to do with that? Particularly when you don't have a baseline as to what the confused person likes or hates or the predictable person likes or hates or responds to. Now let's get a couple hundred reviews along the same continuum. Yeah, we're back to yikes.
I don't want to say that it's asymmetrical warfare leveled against creators out there on Twitter or social media. But it's not far off. And it's not even intended to be warfare, though there are some folks that will rush out and weaponize it simply because they can. Or be a shithead to you just because they can. Because it's without consequence except to the target. Hell, they've probably forgotten their novel cruelties by the time they've typed them out, unless they're out there waging a vendetta and then in that case, buckle up.
There's just a lot. Even when people are being relatively polite and restrained about it. Taking it in messes with your brain chemistry, as an acquaintance of mine is fond of saying. In the old days of USEnet, we called it "drinking from the firehose" and back then we had no idea about the titanic scale that things would assume a couple generations into mass markets being tied into the internet. And if people get their rocks off by being jerks? Yeah, buckle right up. Or block and move on.
So, yeah, low-bandwidth mode for awhile. Let's just all pretend we're on LiveJournal again and operating off dialup.
In the meantime, I'm working on what I suspect will be a fairly long novella with the tentative title "Experience's Ashes" but it could easily be called "All Fire is the Same Fire" (which I nicked from Grant Morrison, not from a recent fantasy series that taps that same vein.) I'm just getting my feet with it, but hope that I can finish the bulk of the draft in the next couple of weeks. It has an intended home, but I bet that I'm going to write it too long for that and then who knows. Nobody wants novellas from unproven writers. John Langan and Laird Barron have earned enough credit that people will give those writers a roll of the dice. I'm not yet there. Wonder if I'll get there. Not in terms of skill. I'm pretty good at what I do, which is different than what those two do, or what Emma J. Gibbon does or Curtis Lawson or any other number of folks whose books I've been turned on to of late.
We all do what we do and yes, it's all the same in that it's writing prose. And there the resemblance ends. When you start digging down at the particle level, much less the quantum foam, the fingerprints are all different, the DNA is twisted in different ways, all of them weird. It's hard to accept my work for what it is, and not what I think it is or what I think I want it to be. No plan survives contact with the enemy. No perfect ideal of what the work is going to be survives the process of writing it. And that translation, like any translation is always going to be lacking. Try to attenuate expectation.
Yeah, have to remind myself that I can't include everything I think I want in a work. Where would I put it all, anyways? So I have to sit down and collaborate not only with my filtered experience and the hodgepodge magpie hoard of bits and pieces I've collected, but whatever is gonna pour out through my fingers and brain that's basically an antenna tuned on a narrow but deep spectrum of stuff.
In other news, MY DROWNING CHORUS is planned for a springtime release in 2022. There's cover sketches out there and I think I know which direction it's going to move in. I can't tell you for sure whether or not ASPHALT TONGUES will make it out next year. The draft is done and if I know you already and you want to take a swing at it, be sure to let me know (I still check Twitter DMs though I'm not posting nearly so much and probably won't see anything that I'm not directly tagged in). My guess is it'll be out in 2023, but I could surprise myself.
Beyond that, I'll be re-examining the outline of the next HAZELAND trilogy: MIRROR WOLVES, ENIGMA INCORPORATED, THE GLASS DIAMOND. Fair warning, they're going to be pretty different from the first rough trilogy. But still my work, so if you liked the first ones, you'll probably like these. And, frankly, liking a thing is far more important a judgment than whether or not the thing is actually any good. Trying for a first draft of MIRROR WOLVES before the end of the year. My guess is it will slop over into early 2023. But I'm trying to stay well ahead of the HAZELAND schedule so that there can be some regularity in the releases.
It looks like "A Fifth World" is going to be re-printed in the new edition of UCHRONIA. This one's a dieselpunk-set story about a Diné code-talker/technician aboard a flying weapons platform in an alternate US where the fallout of WWI has taken things in a very different direction.
I still have a bunch of books over on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/mattmaxwellauthor
I bet there's one there you'd like.
I still keep tinkering with a release for BLACK TRACE.
At the movies I surprisingly enjoyed FREE GUY and though a lot about tone and where that movie intersected with cosmic horror. No, I'm not joking at all. Not in the slightest.
Also dug the second SUICIDE SQUAD film. Never saw the first. Yeah, sorry, it looked like a film only a committee could love. This one was crazy, had a lot of heart, a lot of black humor, schoolyard taunting, gore. A good time, really.