Monday, September 29, 2008

Cover for Sky Waves

Sky Waves -- due for release on Octover 24, 2008.

Cover design by that genius, Paddy Moore. Cover photography by Missus with Three Names.

Sunburst Award update

Congrats to Nalo Hopkinson and Joanne Proulx!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"How's the proofreading going, Michelle?"

rotten stinkin why the hell did I ever think I could do this of course you can
do this just a matter of getting your arse in gear and where the hell did that
comma splice go line 4 or 14 oh for the love of all that's good and pure

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hot water

Think a hot bath is a good idea when you're getting over shingles?

It's not.

Seems I woke up some angry nerve endings. Seems I'm painfucked as well as storyfucked today.

Getting a bit frustrated here -- hammer through a wall kind of frustrated.

Like my muse cares. Like any of this actually matters when there's a book to finish.

"Fixing a hole where the rain gets in..."

Despite all my oh-so-intricate and precious work on Sky Waves, my husband, reading through, discovers this problem, days before I'm supposed to return the proofs:

--Uh, honey, if Robert crashes around noon, but Thomas doesn't get out there 'til dusk on a July day, and the lost girl doesn't come out of the woods 'til after dusk, then what the hell is everyone doing in those six or seven hours?

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

I woke up to that question this morning, groggy with meds for shingles and a long, wickedly dreamy sleep -- including dreaming I was struggling to wake up.

It's only the central event of the novel, ya know, the inciting incident, that rock in the water of every character's life ... only a plot-hole you could drive an eighteen-wheeler through ...

Beat head off wall. Rinse. Repeat.

A few sentences will fix this. Five, tops. But that's not the point. The point is I never should have missed such a sloppy lapse. Outlines, charts, timelines, several readings, several readers ... and still, I missed the phantom six hours.

Perhaps this post will feed a bad review later, some clever critic who loathes Sky Waves will Google me and find this and say: -- Yes, her worst fears are true: Butler Hallett's a fraud. Pity she thinks she can write. So much time ...


Time. Time to fix it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Should have thought of this before (conversation with da muse)

Proofing Sky Waves ...

Holy fuck, I can't publish this.

Got to now, girl.

Incompent, meandering, meaningless --

No, not meaningless. Plan at work.

A mess! I have fucked it up, totally fucked it up, and everyone's waiting on me to deliver the corrected proofs --

Fucked it up? Probably. Definition of novel: a prose narrative of some length that has something wrong with it.

What are people going to think?

Got no control over that, girl.

I'm a fraud. Total fucking fraud. I read from it last night, and I lost every scrap of confidence I had in this book.

You felt the same way about Double-blind.

This is worse. Way worse. Questions this time of history, autobiography, blurry lines of fiction --

You're tired. Go lie down.

I can't do this.

Already did. "Kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight" and all the rest of it. Just go lie down. Can't stifle a story about the importance of communication now, can you?

I'm scared.

Might keep you honest.

Really scared.


Devil's whip

The nerve starts in the spine, slopes down a bit over the ribs, wraps around the front. The nerve sizzles with dull fire -- herpes zoster virus, awake after a long nap -- then it snaps, almost knocks me to one side -- gasp -- a whispered knotted string of profanity -- tears -- that scowl again, that bitter scowl, spine throbbing, pain meds so damn slow ... reason, still reason here? Beyond random infection? Old name for shingles: the devil's whip. More accurate. I'm tired now, tired out with pain ... one's night sleep, pray, literally, for one night's good sleep ... reason ...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Burnt, steel wool

Shingles: wouldn't mind learning how to put them on a roof. Dermatome: name of a nudist new wave band, surely, perhaps expiring in the shadow of Duran Duran. Sensation: first-degree burn over a bruise, the touch of clothing like steel wool. Thank God the Sky Waves galleys came in, so I've got some serious distraction.

So it's stoned topless proofreading today at Michelle's house. Sounds like some act as a secret strip joint hidden in the bowels of a university. For added academic exitement, I'll put on my hornrims and call out "Derrida, Foucault, Marx -- you're all pathetic self-blinded wanking losers!" in wails of ecstasy as I smack the air with Beckett in one hand and Marlowe in the other. Yeah. That's it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pustulent symmetry (viral dreaming)

I caught chickenpox when I was seven or eight. Nothing unusual there, except the fever dreams just before the rash broke: semi-transparent demons drifting down from a black and red sky ripped out of the background washes for those Rocket Robin Hood and SpiderMan episodes NTV inflicted on us over lunch hour in the 1970s. (You can still catch both on Teletoon Retro.) Years later, reading HP Lovecraft and his Cthulhu demons floating down from the sky, I thought: Cool. Just like those fever dreams when I got chickenpox.

I've dreamt about Cthulhu the odd time since, including a particularly wretched dream where I watched a Cthulhu rape me. (I wove this into Sky Waves.)

I ran fevers over the weekend -- or they ran me. That semi-conscious languish that mocks sleep -- no real rest, just lost time, minutes evaporating like sweat. And yeah, Cthulhu dreams. Maggotty with Cthulhu, worse than any other time since I had chickenpox.

Found a rash on my trunk today. Saw a doctor. Shingles -- Return of Chickenpox, in a bent way.

The same virus caused the same dreams?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Cured in one easy step

So this chronic pain crap, this heap of saltstinking rancid guts too corrupted for seagulls to nibble, dainty little songbirds of delicate taste that they are -- I've got it. I've got the cure. Years of pain and a stoned head could have been avoided, yep, if only, if only I knew this before:

Don't eat. And the pain lessens.

Pass the jaysus Kafka now, 'til we flips open to "The Hunger Artist."

Monday, September 1, 2008


Some years ago, I miscarried. Statistically normal. Lots of us do. Early enough, and you mightn't even notice it.

Early. But I noticed. I got pregnant with almost wicked ease.

My Mom smiled. --Hang your drawers on the bedpost, and you're knocked up.

And I knew -- morning-after knew. Not sick -- yet -- but different: second soul tethered to my body.

I conceived that lost child a few months before starting my second daughter. Hung my drawers up, and next morning those suddenly fat veins in my chest pumped indigo. Went up a cup size in a week, just like the first time. Felt a funny almost-tickle on my mind, like a feather -- queasy within a few weeks -- period date passed -- faintest blue line on the preg stick --


Woke up alone.

Alone in my body, I mean.

Checked with my doctor. He ordered bloodwork.

That night, bleeding ... heavier than the late period should be ... futile trip to the Grace ... very young doctor left to stand in the doorway and watch while nurses kept taking away little blue pans from under me to "analyze tissue" ... so many clots ... the doctor's face made me cry harder as he faced his helplessness. No shiny stethoscope, no young doc's stamina for night rounds, no amount of care and gentle manner could stop this.



Spark-gap transmission / Michelle Butler Hallett

Spark-gap transmission / Michelle Butler Hallett
in progress