My book, Priceless Treasures and Ghastly, is almost ready to print. On three occasions I have assured my editor that I was ready to go to press, and then rewritten something. It probably isn’t something that I should do — the more changes that I make the more likely it is that I will introduce typos that will be uncaught, or delete things by accident. But I owe you, my public, the best that I can manage and I will deliver it.
As a child I remember being appalled that Tolkien made so many changes to The Hobbit while it was being printed that the printers had to break the plates and do it all over again. This, by the way, was the first edition of 1937, not the revised 1951 version that we read.
I do think that what I have now is as good as it can be, but I think that I put off pressing ‘send’ a few more hours and look it over one last time.
This is my new writers blog. As some of you know, I had one before that I used occasionally and that was read mainly by my friends, but this will be a more professional affair. It will include the sorts writerly things one might expect (publication dates for example) and function as a place where readers can contact me (as a slow correspondent I apologize in advance). It will also feature a half dozen or so greatest hits from my old blog that will appear occasionally over the next year (clearly marked so you won’t have to read them twice).
Come again soon,
ps The first real entry will be up Friday.
NOTE: This first appeared on my old blog on August 30th 2013.
Seamus Heaney died today, and the press immediately jumped on his Nobel Prize and his his writing about the The Troubles in Northern Ireland, proving definitively that no one in the press had read his work. The Nobel Prize is a fine thing when used to sell books but it says nothing of merit. At best it is an indicator that a person with solidly centrist political beliefs has reached a certain level of fame and a certain quality of writing, but it says nothing of greatness, or even interest. Heaney was defined by the politics of his time, but what of it? Everyone is. We don’t pretend that Chaucer is a spokesmen for the hundred-year-war generation (or generations as it may be), but certainly as a soldier and a statesman he was created by it.
Instead Heaney’s worth will be his ability to reach people and his ability to have his quirks and queernesses seem completely natural and correct. He was one of the most eccentric and provincial writers ever born but made us all feel as if we were of his tribe and his quirks and queernesses were ours and his province our own.
I have no right or even desire to speak for posterity but I hope he will be read in the future, without cumbersome foot notes or drawn out introductions (posterity I’m sure will have dictionaries if they want to know what a ‘bleb’ is) and just read for his immediacy warmth and miraculous sense of language.
Next month The Oldstyle Tales Press will be issuing Priceless Treasures and Ghastly: a Slight Collection of Hallowe’en Tales and Miscellanea, a collection of five of my short stories, lavishly illustrated by author, scholar, and artist M. Grant Kellermeyer.
It won’t be a book for everyone — those with mid-century mindsets will object to fantastika, and there is too much sex, alcohol, and Putin for it to be suitable for children. But it will be suitable for people waiting by the door giving out candy to their snot-nosed neighbors. And, because it’s only a chapbook, they will be able to read it before their own kids get back in.
This is my first book to be published, and I can’t imagine a better place to publish it than the OSTP, a place where imagination, scholarship, and an unwholsome attraction to the uncanny sit quietly and beautifully in thoughtfully illustrated books. Even a cursory look at the website shows the care and attention given to the titles, and it is an honor to keep such company.
Details such as price and release date, will be posted soon.