am trying not to freak out at the obscene size of my word count, far beyond anything viable for a first-time author. trying to cut the narrative in half is not going to save me, i think. i’ve been suffocating a few babies but there might have to be some wholesale slaughter happening, and man, that bites. if richardson could write 1 million plus words about one woman’s rape, why can’t i write half a million about a dozen characters and their conflicts great and small? self-publishing is laughable, the idea of serialization seems to have gone the way of dickens, and i am looking to be **** out of luck.
instead of shooting the horse now, though, i am still going to let the old nag do as she pleases. once more into the breach, damn the torpedoes, raise high the roof beams, ask not what your country, etc. etc.
so back to work, which at this moment includes two little excerpts from letter 130 of liaisons, rosemonde to tourvel:
A man enjoys the pleasure he feels, a woman the pleasure she bestows.
[Men] have the support of public opinion which has drawn a distinction—for men only—between being unfaithful and being inconstant . . .
contrast with a line of valmont’s to merteuil, a few letters later:
First of all, for lots of women, pleasure is always just pleasure and nothing more; and with such women, whatever high-falutin title we may be given, we’re just ciphers, stand-ins whose only assets are our performance and the most vigorous man is always the best.
let it be recorded here for all posterity that magnus’ little speech about being a cipher, if it survives the slaughter, predates my reading of this letter. i thought of it on my own, thank you very much! laclos, c’est moi.
but the contrast has been bopping around in my head all day, to the detriment of the day job; add to that this rather fabulous interview with china miéville (i have a crush on his brain):
and i’m thinking that at the very least some tightening of atmosphere is required. whose paris are we seeing? it does not have to be everyone’s, and for the principals involved, their experience of the city is far more limited than i have been explicitly describing. dark and thin and fluttery, dim lights in the windows by public decree (a precursor to streetlamps, at least per my limited research thus far), cold without feeling cold—
i need to see better, in this.