...has been a strange, transitory month. I've spent much of it fulfilling fiction and nonfiction obligations--a story for Jay Lake's TEL anthology, more secret lives (I think I can safely say the Secret Lives book won't be out until October), a piece on House of Leaves for Horror: Another 100 Best Books, edited by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman, various PR projects (including a VanderMeer 2005 sampler)--but also dealing with the distracting situation of having had a mole on my arm diagnosed as pre-cancerous. I had it surgically removed this past Tuesday (a very common procedure, although the first time I've had surgery of any kind), which has been quite a relief, but which is also kind of weird in a Frankenstein way. I've never had stitches or a long gash in my arm or anywhere else for that matter. It's so strange to be typing and feel the stitches tighten every so often. At times, it almost feels like the wound is separate from me. The discomfort isn't great; the sensation is just unfamiliar. I keep trying to differentiate it from other sensations so I can use it sometime.
This month I've also been thinking about this blog and how I use it and what I use it for. When I started it, I felt I used it as a kind of personal journal focused on writing. Then came a transitional phase when I realized I had an audience--I mean, I knew I had an audience before, but I didn't know, if you see what I mean--and I began to post entries with an awareness that there were readers to be entertained. More recently, this awareness has changed yet again, in that I realized that the audience had grown enough that it would be effective to publish interviews and features on writers who interest me. Even more "off topic," I've begun responding to the entries of other bloggers. This counter-punching was never my intent when I started because the point has been to share my own experiences.
So, in some ways, I feel as if I've lost something with this blog. I've gone electric, so to speak, and there's no longer that pleasant sense of having to lean forward to hear an unplugged, acoustic guitar. This means I've gained something as well, but at the expense of creating something more personal.
I haven't reached a decision on what I'll do with the blog in future--for one thing, I'm going on a mini-tour of Seattle and Vancouver soon, and am prepping for that--but I do see a time coming where I re-direct the blog's intent. Either to re-purpose it or to regain the original intent.
In the meantime, I'm feeling somewhat transition-y and restless. About two weeks before any big trip, I find it more and more difficult to write any fiction, and I've done just a couple of short pieces recently. That makes me mentally twitchy, while the stitches are making me physically twitchy. (How Ann puts up with all of this, I don't know.) I'm kind of in a driving-down-a-deserted-street-late-at-night-after-a-light-rain mood. Which means Seattle and Vancouver will be good, since you'd be hard pressed to find many places in Tallahassee you'd want to hang out at after one in the morning. I'm looking forward to a lot of late nights and cool or strange or even languid conversations and a lot of visual stimulation, being in places I haven't been before. There's this sense of wanting to explore and kind of to roam that comes over me sometimes, and it's frustrating at the moment to wait a week to get to that place.
One thing the movie Lost in Translation did is perfectly capture that kind of late night slide, the way places and people merge and you're sort of part of the places and apart from the places, and it's a feeling that's both comfortable and edgy. I think you need that as a writer. And it's not so much that going to new places provides inspiration--it's that it knocks things loose from inside of you that were already there but needed a way out. And it makes your nerve ends react differently. Processing is different. The same street that in your home town excites no interest from you has its doppelganger in a strange city, and there, by god, every little detail suddenly becomes important, and when you're home again, driving on that road, the two become superimposed and the familiar suddenly becomes strange. Those sorts of things happen.
Maybe it's just a way of wrenching yourself out of the familiarity of what's around you so you can again appreciate the miraculous in the mundane.
And maybe I'm re-purposing this blog already.