Several people sent me this link today: *
(You want to keep reading down a bit, till you get to the letter that begins ‘Hi Neil.’ Begin to pay close attention from this point.)
.. . I have one word to say: yesssssssssss.
It’s all about Othering, you know. I’ve been on about Othering before.** As soon as you Other a writer–define them as some arcane species other than your own–you can say the most extraordinary things to him or her, make the most extraordinary demands . . . and totally lose your common sense about the basic requirements of the human being: food, shelter, clothing, hanging out, helldomesticfauna, an internet connection, etc.***
I’m also just evilly delighted to see the notoriously easy-going and laid-back Neil Gaiman becoming even the slightest bit testy–especially about something I agree with and that matters to my life too and that I am glad to have a Big Name out there weighing in on the subject so I can say, See! Neil Gaiman says so too! I don’t do easy-going and laid-back myself much: any notoriety I have attained is in other directions. † Which reminds me of another link that someone sent me a while back, which made me cry with laughter†† at the time, and all over again tonight when I had to go fishing for it††† because I can’t find what I’ve done with the link (which means I also can’t give credit to whoever sent it to me).‡ Warning: Bad Language Here. ‡‡ But it’s very funny bad language.
There’s more on this subject out there, and I’ll probably post a few more links about it during this Time of Short Blogging While PEGASUS Takes Over My Life.‡‡‡ But I’m coming out of a really bad patch of sequel-to-SUNSHINE demands.§ There was about a fortnight when I was almost afraid to open any email to the website/ blog address from a name I didn’t recognise because it was going to be yet another affronted reader wondering why I was failing in my clear ethical stipulation to provide a sequel to SUNSHINE. What is the matter with these people? How many times do I have to say it’s not under my control? §§
Meanwhile, meretriciously stimulated by another of Rothfuss’ entries §§§, here is an excerpt from a particularly overheated behest on the subject of the SUNSHINE sequel. It’s several weeks old now–it arrived at the height of the above-mentioned Bad Patch–but it’s still haunting my nightmares. What illegal substance was this person on?
. . . You have abandoned us on the eve of a critical battle. . . . You have arrested the momentum of an inevitable but unrealized romance. When you left “Sunshine” without a sequel, you left us in the middle of a story whose urgency, like the tale of Beauty and the Beast, cannot subside until the story is done. Every great tale has a necessary ending, and no amount of postmodern anti-linear, narratophobic theory can alter this deepest of human perceptions regarding what a story is.
I write quite simply to ask you to reward the love of your readers all over the world by writing a sequel to “Sunshine”. Perhaps you are tired. Perhaps you cannot see, or do not like, where the story will go. Or perhaps you fear it couldn’t possibly be as good as the first book (what, of its kind, could?). But think about this: we trust you. In a way, the second book is already crafted and fully-formed within the first, like a baby kangaroo in the pouch of its mother. You have already done much of the work. But I don’t mean to frighten you off by asking you to repeat yourself. Your readers don’t need you to duplicate the experiences of the first volume, or repeat for us the sensations or situations you created before; we don’t need you to take up where you left off. . . . The sequel could be anything, in any style, from any perspective. Your loyal readers will not question it. What we do need is a true ending. Because, in one way or another, the dark is coming, well within a hundred years; and we all need our stories to teach us how to fight against it.
Do you suppose it’s too late for a career change to hat-check elderly hag or deep-sea diver? ¤
* * *
* And bless you all. I’d much rather have it 3,247.0001^ times than have missed it. In theory I read Neil’s blog. In practise . . . eh. In theory I do a lot of things. In theory I practise the piano at least half an hour every day. In theory I wrestle with Finale at least an hour every day. In theory I read a book about every other day . . . although if you include all the ones I throw at the wall I may actually make that one.
^ One of the links didn’t work for some reason
** [begin philosophy] Most of what’s wrong with the world is due to Othering of one sort of another: of making some category of other people Other than what you are. And then you don’t have to treat them as human beings, and/or don’t have to take responsibility for yourself, for your needs and desires. [end philosophy]
*** Yes, I know, this is the comfortable insulated middle-class first-world version. There are entire communities (and sadly, probably entire countries) that would be glad of a reliable source of clean water and/or a reasonable assurance of a lack of armed troops taking shots at them.^ But this is a comfortable, insulated, middle-class, first-world blog. You do what you can do: what I can do is tell stories.
^ I not only make a miniscule monthly contribution to Medecins Sans Frontieres http://www.msf.org.uk/?gclid=COyMuZynupoCFUU_3godWlLtcg , I read their magazine.
† You don’t need to be reminded of There Is No Sequel to SUNSHINE, do you? http://robinmckinleysblog.com/2008/12/02/there-is-no-sequel-to-sunshine/
†† Any regular reader of this blog will know this instinctively, but my favourite is the one that concerns dying screaming in a fire.
††† And if anyone out there can tell me where or how to find the ‘search’ on Rothfuss’ blog I would be very grateful.
‡ The perils of using several computers are caliginous and profound.
‡‡ I am occasionally a bit wistful about my decision to stay (relatively) clean on Days in the Life. I know why I did it, and, barring more reader mail like the letter from Ungay Mom back in this blog’s infancy, I will probably continue to toe the line of semantic rectitude. But just occasionally I wish that my muse’s first offering had been closer to the spirit of Rabelais than Beatrix Potter. By the time SUNSHINE came along my reputation as a depraved purveyor of dark degeneracy was a lost cause. At least the mail I get about SUNSHINE’s contribution to moral turpitude doesn’t wind me up the way the demands for a sequel do.
‡‡‡ On present form, I will have the second draft done by the end of the month . . . but I’m frelling terrified of the amount of rewriting awaiting in me in the third. Can’t it be February again?^
^ Ergh. No, not February. I’m with Gilbert and Sullivan (Gilbert anyway) on the subject of February: ‘ . . . for such a beastly month as February, twenty-eight days as a rule are plenty. . . .’ And no reruns. Maybe a rerun of April? Maybe two or three reruns of April? I like April. Lilacs. Bluebells. Tulips.
§ And I hope saying ‘out’ isn’t going to catch the wicked fairy’s attention.
§§ And/or that SUNSHINE has a perfectly fine and even excellent ending. And just by the way, why don’t people look for what I may already have said on the subject before they write to me? Although that isn’t infallible either: I get a lot of mail that says ‘I’ve read what you said about the Story Council BUT . . .’
§§§ http://www.patrickrothfuss.com/blog/blog.html : It’s the opening page as I write this, but of course it won’t be, tomorrow or the next day or some time,^ and I probably will forget to update the link. But it’s the one from Rome, Monday the 11th, and you need to scroll down below the (mind-boggling) photo of his new ms. I’m not presuming to have superhero mocking powers, but I don’t actually think this sample of the SUNSHINE-sequel-demander’s art needs annotation.
^ He doesn’t blog every day.
¤ After I finish PEGASUS. Both volumes. And ALBION. And BELLS OF MAZAHAN. And SEVERAL OTHER THIRD VOLUMES OF DAMAR. And DESTINY. And TAM LIN. And ELMENTALS AIR and EARTH. And. . . .
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