I think Aliette de Bodard best describes my last few writing days in this interview by Josh Vogt, with the following few sentences:
"I have a trunk, and it is full of stories that will probably never see the light of day. A lot of them are pretty much broken, to the point where they'd require a complete rewrite if they were to work."
A simple way of saying maybe your earlier stuff is better left alone. I can't count how many times I've pulled out some of those first few shorts - not even the first and second, which can't find a shape no matter how many rewrites, but the third and fourth - the fourth with which I worked on today, and the third I sent off to magical Gio in hopes that she could find an answer. The fifth was lucky enough to find a home, although I cringe when I look at it now - that's the way it works, I suppose. But the last two days have been spent trying to make the old new again, and I'm wondering if it's worth it. Add the third novel to that same quandary, too.
Somewhere down the line, something's got to work, eventually. I understand, too, for the most part, what works now. Yet I can't always get my own stuff there, especially the old.
I'm over halfway through Les Grossman's The Magicians, and it's official: I'm skimming, now. I really hoped it wouldn't come to this, but I cannot handle the impersonal style - the way of storytelling that distances me from Quenton, the main character. Get me into the mc's head, and I will follow you anywhere - no matter the genre. And it's not hard; I'm an easy hook. But if you can't - and Grossman didn't, from the beginning, instead, driving me batty with Rowling references, although to his credit, his characters were actual teenagers (meaning drugs, booze, sex, etc.) and one terrific monster that showed up 1/4 of the way through and hasn't again) - then I'm going to resort to skimming.
It's disappointing, really. I haven't read a novel I thoroughly enjoyed since Kiernan's The Red Tree, which was back on our Solvang trip. A month ago. Far too long. And since I brought up Kiernan, I cannot speak highly enough of her Sirenia Digests. Brilliant, and so gorgeous, with delicious, spellbinding moments that seem so hard to come by these days, for some reason. $10 a month, but I'd pay triple that - the quality is 3x F&SF and even Asimov's, in my opinion, and only comparable to WEIRD Magazine (and occasionally Realms of Fantasy), which doesn't come out often enough for me. Kiernan's Ammonite Violin is in the mail to me now, as well as a new Tanith Lee anthology (!!!!); I'm extraordinarily excited for both.