I'm finally starting to calm down, feel like I'm catching up again. After the computer crash, I've been in rather frantic recovery mode, while also trying to finish my dissertation draft. Now that's done, and the Silence manuscript has been reconstructed (and improved), and I've started sending out submissions again, and I think I may have actually collected all the Blowfish stories (that's the next project, reassembling those into a manuscript, editing them, getting final word counts and sending out contracts so that Christophe can issue the checks, all of which I'm hoping to get done by the middle of next week) -- I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Once I deal with the Blowfish stuff, I'll review the TOR manuscripts again and get caught up on that, and then I'll be as caught up as I'm going to be on the pre-crash material, I think. Then I can get on with my life again. That'll be nice, to be purely moving forward, rather than just playing catch-up.
Hey, is it obnoxious to be really pleased with your own work? I read through the Silence manuscript yesterday, while reformatting, and I have to say, I think I love this book. I still like many of the pieces in Torn Shapes, but it's a thin little book, and even so, I had drafted a few of those pieces quickly, in order to have sufficient material to justify a book at all. Whereas with this collection, I'm pretty much only putting in pieces I think are special, for one reason or another, pieces I have an unreasonable fondness for. I've sorted through the last eight years of stories and poems and essays and just pulled out my favorites (some published, some not) -- and it's incredibly satisfying, having the freedom to put them together like this, in the order I want, under no editorial pressure from anyone else to leave things in or take things out. Remarkably satisfying.
I admit, I'm a little surprised to find that the result doesn't feel like a random assemblage, but actually a fairly coherent set of variations on a theme, or a group of themes. Whether I'm working in poetry, fiction, or nonfiction, I'm obsessed with the same questions of sex and love and truth and trust, etc. and so on. And the result is a book that I like very much, that makes me feel maybe I really am doing something worthwhile with this whole writing thing. Worthwhile for me, at any rate, whether or not readers end up getting out of it what I think I'm putting in. :-)