7 May, 2005

Now, this just goes to show that I do not spend a lot of time looking back at my own website or reading back over my old journal entries because I realized that there is one whopper of a mistake in the very first sentence of my last entry. It also goes to show that I didn't have a lot of time to work on that entry and just kind of whipped it out as quick as I could because I wanted to provide some kind of comment and explanation for why the comic updated on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday that week instead of Monday, Wedesday and Friday like it was supposed to. So, I simply didn't notice until last night that there was a word missing from the very first sentence of that last journal entry, and I believe the missing word was the verb. Oh, yes, what a thing to leave out. I'm sure all of the people who actually bothered to look at that entry just rolled their eyes and said to themselves that they knew the authority responsible for this website was a complete and utter idiot.

So, yeah, I still haven't gone back and fixed the last journal entry, which has suddenly struck me as just a little strange, but I don't care. I'll go back over the whole entry and check it for mistakes and whatnot, and at that time, I'll finally get around to fixing the first sentence and uploading the whole thing. Of course, I really haven't decided what to do about the RSS version. I'm kind of tempted to leave it as it currently exists with the missing word and simply forget about it. After all, anybody who may have seen it will not get the update. Actually, that depends on the type of RSS Reader they are using, but my slightly limited experience with RSS Readers tells me that anybody who has already seen the misplaced word version of the entry will not get to see the fixed version. So, I suppose it doesn't really matter which way I proceed. I will simply proceed in whatever fashion strikes me as the way to go at that moment. Oh, well.

String Finger Theatre is cruising along. I haven't been working on Rumplestiltskin in Love with quite the speed and gusto that I worked on Revenge of the Third Dimension, and I'm not entirely certain way. It may have been nothing more interesting than the conditions under which I was working and the general level of depression I have been left with after getting home from my really truly horrible day job that I continue to remain unable to extricate myself from.

So, yeah, the story goes. I can actually sort of see the end of it. I'm not quite there yet, but it is approaching. In fact, I was actually starting to think that it was going to be quite a bit longer than I was expecting, but events have transpired. Things I thought were going to take longer to play out have been summed up rather nicely and quickly, which is all for the good I suppose. I mean the whole thing has been a little bit on the standing around side, which I know most people simply cannot stand, but it is the way that really works for this comic. The damn thing really is driven by the characters just standing around and blathering on about any old thing. There are points, but they rarely get there by the process of a straight line.

I'm starting to feel close enough to the end of the current storyline that I'm starting to wonder over what I'm going to do next. I'm leaning toward not doing anything for about a month and simply refusing to consider the next story or deal with it in any way. This was kind of what I wanted to do at the end of the Revenge of the Third Dimension story, but things were just flying so fast that the momentum simply propelled me into writing the next story without a break.

So, yeah, I think that I shall try not to think about it for a little while. It would also be nice to do a little more on the music side. Events that I was expecting to happen finally did so, and I was unable to do anything on the music front for almost a month. So I really do kind of want to hunker down over that a little bit. I left the slow movement of my stupid sonatina experiment somewhat in the middle, and I'm really hoping I can remember what the fuck I was doing and pick the damn thing up where I left off. I've had a bit of time to stare at the page, and I haven't quite found my place yet, which has left me just a little worried. But, I'm trying not to think about that.

I figure I'll put a little more effort in making sure that Rumplestiltskin in Love is wrapped up, and then I'll take a good long look at the state of my musical endeavors and just hope that I haven't undone all of the work I've tried to put into it this year through circumstances that prevented my from being able to work on it for so long. Oh, well, I worry more than I should.

My greatest fear about this whole music thing is the thought that I really am just fooling myself here. That I've got no business trying to reclaim music. That if I was going to do anything or be any good that the time was years ago. The faculty of San Francisco State University did such a good job of burning the musical ability out of me that there is absolutely no way that I'll be able to get back into it. Sigh. Such are the dark fears and secrets of the soul.

I have to wonder if I'm just fooling myself. I mean nobody cares if I experiment with a little piece of shit remembrance piece. It's no good. It sounds little better than trash, and most musicians who know what they are doing could crank one of these out in just under a couple of minutes. No, seriously, I have absolutely no doubt that my old music teacher from West Valley College could simply improvise sonatinas one after the other until I was simply left a blubbering wasted mess on the floor.

So, I don't know. I'm fooling myself. I'm wasting my time. It all sounds like crap. It'll never amount to anything, but I'm not ready to give up on it. I don't know what I am doing, and I'm not going to stop. I shall continue to pursue my own stupidities. The world can laugh. I'll give up eventually, I'm sure, but just not today.

Oh, yeah, but speaking of things I've decided not to bother with, I have lost interest in doing an audio version of The Etymology of Fire. I know I was kind of working on it as a way to post the book to the website without actually posting the book to the website, but since I got past that mental block and did finally post most of the book to the website, I just haven't felt the need to do an audio version.

I would much rather do an audio version of The Faire Folk of Gideon, anyway. Of course, I don't know when I'm going to get around to that. It'll be one of these days. I've also been thinking about book two, but I don't know when that is actually going to happen. I think a lot of what has been going on is simply the fact that the comic doesn't fulfill the need to be creative that doing the story writing or music composition does. I know it's stupid, and I simply do not know why it is the case. But, the comic just isn't enough. I need more. The comic is a lark. It is a laugh, but it isn't sufficient for my needs.

So, yeah, the next part of The Faire Folk of Gideon has been rattling and banging on the bars of its cage. It really has been a while since I finished book one, and I really should get started on book two. It's just a matter of time. It'll happen.

I am really worried that The Faire Folk of Gideon will just swamp and swallow all of my musical efforts so I'm not ready to let the beast go yet. I need to do more with music. I need to do something. I need to prove to myself that I'm not completely and utterly lost and forgotten on the musical front.

So, we shall see. I do not know what I am going to accomplish, but I am going to try and work on it. Terrible horrible lousy day job not withstanding. Fits of depression and lack of energy not withstanding. Evil psychotic self-absorbed and unimaginative boss type people not withstanding. Have you ever had a job where it takes all your strength and will just to manage to accomplish the most basic tasks? Yeah, and nobody is hiring. There was this one possibility where I had to interview with like six different people over five days. They said they liked me, but I still didn't get the job. The really depressing part about that one specifically is that I think I've met the person they did hire, and I swear I know more about the job than the person they hired even though that person supposedly has more experience. Oh, well. You'll go crazy if you worry about these things too much.

Oh, yeah, and I almost completely forgot to mention that I have passed the four hundred comic mark with String Finger Theatre. I know it hasn't posted yet, but it will. And, it is quite an accomplishment, isn't it? I still have more than a little trouble believing that I have in fact managed to write more than four hundred individual comics. I was even able to make the cast and crew notice that it was number four hundred. No, really, I didn't think I was going to manage it, but I did. It isn't too obvious a mention, but it does interrupt the regularly progressing storyline. Oh, and it is kind of a nice little ding at Hardware Wars, which is really the best part of the whole thing. You can't help but love Hardware Wars. It was such a stupid crazy little flick. Anyway, it is cool that String Finger Theatre has survived for so long. I should try to remember these cools things. I'll also try to remember to point out when number four hundred actually posts to the website.

16 May, 2005

I don't actually read that much, which is a fact that I always find vaguely unsettling when I think about it because I do like to read. There just never seems to be a good time for it. Oh, I read when I can. I read when I can fit it in, but it is never as much as I feel I should be keeping up with reading. The main time I do find to read is while waiting for the bus on my way to work in the morning and while waiting for the bus on my way home except during the summer when I walk home. Even then I don't really feel like I've read that many novels. I used to collect the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, which was the main source of my reading while waiting for the bus or whatnot. I felt that a fiction rag was a good way to vary my reading since I never really knew the kinds of stories I was going to get. Well, of course, I knew that they were all going to be of a fantasy or science fiction slant, but the actually stories included would always be this, that or the other thing. It also helped because I wouldn't have to deal with my staggering fear of standing in the bookstore and wondering what was a good one. I never wanted to waste good money on some bit of crap or other.

This wariness of the bookstore shelf has probably kept me away from a good many clunker of a book just as I am sure that it has prevented me from reading a glorious page-turner of a yarn. It has also kept me away from this phenomenon that I've always heard about that permeates the science fiction and fantasy section of the local bookshop. I am, of course, talking about the trilogy. Now, I will admit to not really knowing much about this outside of the fact that there seem to be two camps. In the first camp, we've got the trilogy writers, and in the other camp, we've got the people who would never admit in a million years that they've written a trilogy.

Now, I've got no problem with trilogies one way or the other except when it comes down to whether or not the story was actually long enough to support a trilogy. I mean there has got to be nothing worse than reading something that turns out to be little more than padding. Pages and pages and word after word that serve no real purpose other than to fill out a book so that in the end we've got three books instead of one or two.

There is another hazard of the trilogy, which I'm not really interested in going into detail over here because I happen to have a reason that I've brought this whole subject up and it has nothing to do with the second reason. Just to get it out of the way, the second thing that can go horribly wrong by intentionally structuring things over a series of books is that of settings things up with no purpose other than to force people to read the third part. A real good example of this problem is not actually from a book. It is the second and third Matrix films. There were characters in the second film that didn't really do anything other than get introduced, and the movie people talked all up and down about how those characters would prove to be important in the third film. So, we got to the third film, and I sure can't say that those characters actually did much of anything. In fact, I was very much left with the feeling that those characters had something to do simply because they had been introduced in the second movie. It's kind of a recursive function, which suddenly strikes me as something of an amusing name for this kind of character. So, let's define it just for fun. A recursive character is one that is introduced just so he can have something to do later but only does something later because he was introduced.

But, I digress.

The reason I have brought up the whole sorry subject of trilogies is because I have finally gotten my hands on and finished the Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix. If you dip into the journal archive, you will discover that I once went on and on about how much I liked this book called Sabriel by a dude named Garth Nix. I love the book. I really thought it was great. It was no great work of literature, but who cares about that when you've got a good story. Never let preconceived notions about the superior value of art get in the way of telling a good story. That's what I say.

It actually came about that I learned there was a sequel called Lirael, which I could never find probably because I never actually spent any time looking for it. If I had found it, I would have picked it up in a hot second, but since I never went looking for it and I never accidentally tripped over it, I never picked it up. So, what finally happened was that my brother told me that he had found the single volume reprint book of the whole Abhorsen Trilogy, which is how I found out there was a third book called simply Abhorsen. My brother was then kind enough to secure a copy of the compilation book for me. It still took me a while to get around to reading it because I really just have an irrational problem with hardbound books. They're just too big. I can't stand them.

It occurred to me pretty quickly that this was probably one of those cases when the guy had written one book, and when that one had done well, had hit upon the idea of stretching the single book into three books. What I didn't discover until I started reading is that while there were three books there were only two stories. I also discovered that this second story, split between two books, really only contained enough story for one book. In other words, the story was stretched. In other words, Lirael had nothing to say and took a long time saying it. The book doesn't even have an ending. It just sort of stops as if there really had been only one manuscript and somebody had decided to rip it in two like some giant demonstrating his awesome strength by ripping a phone book in half.

I sat there reading Lirael thinking that it was all padding. No, really, it all felt terribly horribly padded. Sabriel just flew. I mean that book had just flown by. Zoom. Things that took one chapter in Sabriel took six chapters in Lirael, and I hated it. I think I mostly hated it because it so very obviously felt like padding. I think what really didn't help was that most of the padding was made up of this twit of a character or that twit of a character moping around and feeling sorry for him or herself. It was all just really annoying.

By the time I got to Abhorsen, I really wasn't in a very good humor about the whole thing. This wasn't helped by the fact that the whole time I was reading Abhorsen I just kept thinking that if I had simply skipped Lirael and gone straight into Abhorsen I would not have missed a damn thing. Absolutely nothing happens in Lirael and Abhorsen is made all the worse because of it.

I cannot help but wonder as I think I mentioned before if the editor had asked the author if there was a follow-up story to Sabriel. The author had said that there was in fact another story percolating in his mind to which the editor had asked the author if it would be possible to stretch this second story over two volumes.

Supposition, I know. I really should not state as fact things that exist only in the diseased backwaters of my brain. None of which I have just finished saying may in fact be true. All the same, I cannot help but wonder.

The story of Lirael is a logical if somewhat excitable and overblown follow-up to the story of Sabriel, and the book Lirael had the potential to be just as great a ripping yarn as the book Sabriel. Unfortunately, the book Lirael wasn't allowed to be the book Lirael. It was forced to be the books Lirael and Abhorsen, and this is a bummer. Otherwise, I've got nothing against trilogies. Except when they shouldn't have necessarily been a trilogy in the first place.

Yeah, I know. I drifted into supposition, again. Sorry. I really wanted to like Lirael. Pity.

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