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Imaginary Collections
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I spent a bit of time this weekend getting stories into circulation. I have a couple of weird little stories that I'm fond of, but which long ago made the rounds of the major markets, so I recently dusted them off, revised them a bit to make the prose on par with my more recent writing, and began sending them off to the semi-prozines. Maybe they'll find good homes...

I've been thinking about short stories a lot lately. And, as is my wont, I've been creating a collection in my head. Of the stories I've published since Little Gods that I'd want to see reprinted, I have about 55,000 words. There are five stories (about 40,000 words) in circulation that I consider among my best work, and expect to sell. Which means, in a year or so, I'll probably have enough stuff for another book, without even going back to old stories (and there are a few stories that didn't make it into Little Gods which I wouldn't mind reprinting, like "The Dog Boys" and "Werewolves and Princesses" and "Angel of the Ordinary"). It's something to mull over. I should talk to my agent about it. There are, I'm told, sound commercial reasons for novelists not to publish collections. Collections don't sell particularly well, usually, and I understand publishers can use those poor sales as a reason to pay less money for novels. But I love stories, and I love collections. There are some small press publishers out there doing amazing collections that are also gorgeous physical objects (Night Shade Books and Golden Gryphon leap to mind), and I salivate at the thought of working with the likes of them. Of course, I have no reason to think either of those particular publishers would be interested in doing one of my books -- especially since Night Shade isn't accepting unsolicited collection submissions, and I think Golden Gryphon has scaled back its publishing operations, making a slim chance there even slimmer. But. I do these little thought-line-ups anyway. Gedankencollections, you might say. I imagine the story notes I would write. I fantasize about forewords. I brainstorm titles: Love and Other Monsters (obviously a riff on Marquez's Of Love and Other Demons, but perhaps a bit too much like Maureen McHugh's just-announced Mothers and Other Monsters, coming next year from Small Beer Press, which is another great publisher doing great collections); Terrible Ones and Other Stories; Glass Caskets; and so on.

And then there's the poetry book I've almost finished putting together, for the Yale Younger Poets contest. I very much doubt I'll win, but it's good for me to do it, to get serious about poetry again. I'll title that book either If There Were Wolves or Other Altars of the Heart, probably, though I also like The Last Barefoot Midnight of the Season... Maybe I should put a poetry chapbook together and start shopping it around...

So that's my state of mind lately. Collecting, collating, arranging. It's a useful frame of mind for doing things like filing, filling out tax forms, and revising, too. Wish I could induce this mood at will...


I never used to creak like this when I got up in the mornings. My joints pop and rattle like miniature percussion instruments every morning; I sound like the wood blocks and rasps that small children play with in music class. I'm not yet thirty, and I'm still limber and bouncy and resilient, but there's a discernible sense of wear in my body now that I'm only just beginning to notice. It's not exactly distressing, but it's interesting.


I finished playing Knights of the Old Republic. It's a great RPG, with a moral aspect that actually affects gameplay. I chose to play an evil, villainous, irredeemably nasty character, so I got all sorts of nasty destructive abilities and some fairly major plot-diversions in the last levels. Heather is playing a nigh-angelically good character, so she gets different sorts of powers, and will have a different plot when she nears the end. Best game I've found yet for the Xbox. Heather recently picked up LOTR: Return of the King (on sale for half price), which I've heard is a pretty good game. Odd -- books based on movies almost invariably suck, and movies based on video games almost always suck, and I would've expected the same for games based on movies, but apparently not. Or is KotOR an exception?


I read Kelly Link's "The Faery Handbag" a couple of days ago. It's in The Faery Reel anthology. It's an amazing story, a perfect story, every little element individually interesting and contributing to the story as a whole. Makes me despair of every writing something so good. Makes me determined to someday write something so good.


Flytrap 3 is done. This weekend was the last push. Heather adjusted the photos for print, we co-wrote editorial and our last reviews, had the bi-annual spooky automatic-writing trance experience, and double- and triple-proofread. Then there was nothing left to do but rip the document into a high-res PDF and burn it to a disc. Later on today we'll amble down to the print shop and drop it off, and we should have it back in time to send copies to our friend (and contributor!) Deborah Layne, who will sell them for us at World Fantasy (so look for 'em at the Wheatland Press table).

And with that, I'm off to enjoy this gray, rainy Sunday!

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