greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
[personal profile] greygirlbeast
Barely four hours sleep last night. I woke just before 7 a.m., took another half Ambien, but to no avail. Anyone planning to attend ReaderCon should be forewarned: The stress and insomnia and seizures and winter have all taken a toll. You may or may not recognize me.

No writing yesterday, but that was planned. What wasn't planned was that the day would spin insanely out of control, devolving into an utter shitstorm of wasted time and frayed nerves. So, yesterday gets a big fat "L" in the day planner. Less than nothing was accomplished.

And yeah, I'm still twatting (tweeting, whatever). There I am, @greygirlbeat. As of this moment, I have 281 people following the...what do you call a stream of tweets? A tweetstream? A feed? No idea, but anyway, that's not bad for the first 24+ hours. I'm hoping to reach 1,000 by the end of July. It's a sort of goal I've set for myself. To determine whether or not Rachael is merely an experiment, and nothing more. And here I am now, on Blogger, LiveJournal, Myspace, Facebook, Dreamwidth, and, now, Twitter. Which makes me incalculably more connected than I would be, were there not this necessity for promotion. Were I only Thomas Ligotti or Thomas Pynchon, or if the blasted books would sell themselves.

One thing that worries me —— and I cannot say this is new, as it has worried me for years, since I started the blog over at Blogger (and probably Usenet before that, back to '94), probably: All of this networking and reporting on the ups and downs on my day-to-day life, the ongoing, ceaseless catalog of profundities and the mundane, it changes that which it records. For so long now, I have been aware that I'll do a thing, go to a museum or a concert, a movie or the sea, and all the while I'm thinking, in some part of my mind, won't this make a good blog entry (or conversely, too bad this won't...). And how could I make it an even better blog entry. It's a bit like the old problem of wave-particle duality, or the trouble any anthropologist will encounter, attempting not to change the thing she observes. How different would each of these experiences be, if I were not aware that I would be reporting them to the world? I can't know, of course. X = the change wrought by my foreknowledge that I am living a life others will watch, even if only in a highly edited form, online. It worries me, and I'd be a liar if I said otherwise.

But it seems to have become inescapable, especially for those of us who are authors, or musicians, or painters, or some other art that needs the Word to Get Out There. If we ignore these technologies, our art may suffer, though we can never know that how or by how much. We can call that part of the equation N. The value of uncertainty. And, of course, just as awareness of the blogs and tweets to come will perforce alter various experiences, so to will they alter the things we write and paint and photograph and compose and so forth. Call that unknown value Y.

Just thoughts I cannot help but think. And yeah, this problem existed before the internet, but the last fifteen years or so (and especially in the last five or six, as these communication technologies accelerate towards...whatever) it has worsened dramatically.

A book I need to find and read: The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage (1998), on 19th-Century information overload.

Today, though I am not awake, we will go forth and seek the tree that will stand in for the eponymous red tree, and which will appear in the trailer for The Red Tree. Or, I may say fuck it all and go visit with Louis Agassiz' cabinet of wonders at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. That's not such a long drive, and perhaps my tree is somewhere in Boston.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. And, again, I ask that you might pay especial attention to the hardback copy of The Merewife (Subterranean Press, 2005), as you are not likely to ever see me auction another. There's also a PC copy of the leather-bound and numbered state of Tales from the Woeful Platypus up now. Bid if you are so able, and so disposed. All proceeds go to my attending ReaderCon next month. Thank you.

Now, I think I will go find caffeine, or throw up, or just look in a mirror and watch my eyes bleed.

Date: 2009-06-20 02:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ardiril.livejournal.com
Your first day on twitter went fairly well, I would say. You will get those balance issues worked out.

One benefit of twitter is once you have followers, they don't go away. You can take a day or a week vacation away from it, and no one is going to feel slighted. You may get nudged but big deal.

Try going a week without posting a blog entry, though, and you risk losing as much as a third of your readership.

Date: 2009-06-20 02:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

One benefit of twitter is once you have followers, they don't go away.

Well, that's a relief, at least.

Try going a week without posting a blog entry, though, and you risk losing as much as a third of your readership.

I have found this is not necessarily the case. Indeed, in my experience, even a slightly controversial or bombastic post is far more likely to lose me readers than a few days with a post.

Date: 2009-06-20 02:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ardiril.livejournal.com
You have a fairly high loyalty rating then. You could probably skip weekends then if you believe most of your readers do so from work.

Date: 2009-06-20 03:13 pm (UTC)
ext_4772: (Whale fluke)
From: [identity profile] chris-walsh.livejournal.com
All of this networking and reporting on the ups and downs on my day-to-day life, the ongoing, ceaseless catalog of profundities and the mundane, it changes that which it records.

Sounds like commiseration with Mr. Gaiman's in order. He's run into those same issues. He tries to keep perspective on it, as you do.

Re: health: This comes from reading Stephen King's Insomnia right now, but I wish the ability to safely draw good energy from people around you (as a couple of the main characters do) actually existed. (One time I visited with someone I know who was exhausted, and I mimed shooting energy out of my fingers and said "There. I sent you caffeine waves." He appreciated the gesture.)

Vague story idea I throw your way: People are able to sell their personal energy to other people.

And as I can give you money instead of energy, here's a supporting-you question: Do pre-orders of your books help you financially sooner or later? How do strong pre-orders of The Red Tree help you?

P.S. I have a soft spot for the word "especial." (Also for spelling diverse "divers." Made me wish there'd been a reference in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to "divers divers.") In other words, my little inner Victorian appreciates you using the word.

Date: 2009-06-20 03:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com
Do pre-orders of your books help you financially sooner or later? How do strong pre-orders of The Red Tree help you?

I get not a penny, normally, from actual copies of the books that are sold. At least, almost never.

Here's how it works: The publisher buys my book, and usually for a decent advance. It's an advance against royalties. Problem is, the advance is usually so high that the book will likely never "earn out." That is, before I begin to receive royalty payments for each book sold, the percentage I earn from each book must amount to a sum greater than advance. This virtually never happens for me.

So, it helps that you buy the book (pre-order or not), because that means the publisher will by my next book and keep other books in print, but I do not, personally, get any proceeds, directly, from your purchase. Make sense?

In other words, my little inner Victorian appreciates you using the word.

I do my best the resurrect "lost" words.

Date: 2009-06-20 03:28 pm (UTC)
ext_4772: (Palindromes!)
From: [identity profile] chris-walsh.livejournal.com
Make sense?

Sense made. I'll pre-order a couple of copies of The Red Tree today (one for me, one for my friend/former girlfriend Alicia, who I turned on to your work plus Neil's and Poppy's.)

I do my best the resurrect "lost" words.

And as a language geek, I appreciate that. I'm proud of a comment I made reviewing a play version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, where I refer to the hall's "denizens" and then said "Isn't 'denizens' a great Victorian word? It has that Latin precision to it."

Date: 2009-06-20 03:34 pm (UTC)
ext_4772: (Baron1)
From: [identity profile] chris-walsh.livejournal.com
Not that "denizens" is a "lost" word, but yeah, I like thinking about words.

Date: 2009-06-22 02:04 am (UTC)
ext_4772: (NCC-1701 Nebula 1)
From: [identity profile] chris-walsh.livejournal.com
Those copies are pre-ordered from Powell's, so you know.

And you've probably explained the "how I get paid" process before, and I just forgot. Still, thank you for explaining again.

Date: 2009-06-20 05:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ardiril.livejournal.com
"This virtually never happens for me." - This solves my gift-guessing problems. This xmas, my sister and all my friends are getting a copy of Silk or The Red Tree.

The Stress of Self Regard

Date: 2009-06-20 03:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tetar.livejournal.com
Living an unexamined life is not the artist's lot, but examining the artist's life often leads to such conundrums as those you cite. Just know you're not alone and many of us are not only on your side but actively pulling for you by buying your books and genuinely appreciating the work you display in them. Gassho.

Date: 2009-06-20 03:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seph-ski.livejournal.com
Every time I catch myself thinking about blogging current activities, I want to beat myself about the head or drink dangerous amounts of potent substances to kill those paparazzi brain cells always watching for something sensational to report. Usually, telling myself, "I should delete my blogs if this is the influence they have over me," is enough to derail that train of thought. I haven't had to delete them yet, but some day I may. Those "blog this!" thoughts are frighteningly persistent. I feel almost as if I've been conditioned by some great conspiracy to voluntarily report my every move.

Date: 2009-06-20 04:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] criada.livejournal.com
I find myself composing blog posts as I do something, and yes, when I catch myself doing it, I usually chastise myself. But I think it might be something I've always done. Instead of presenting something for the internet, I'd present it for my friends or whoever would end up listening.
I don't think that in itself is bad -- events need processing, after all. At least for me, I need to connect everything in my life together like a big quilt.
The danger comes from mentally editing specifically for an audience. After all, there are plenty details of everyone's lives that aren't considered appropriate for a wider audience, and I personally fear that by editing these details, I'm mentally pricking a piece of myself to death.

Date: 2009-06-20 04:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I don't think that in itself is bad -- events need processing, after all. At least for me, I need to connect everything in my life together like a big quilt.

What worries me is not that the events are reported, or that I compose them in my head, but that the awareness that they may be reported, experienced prior to or during the event, has the power the alter the event itself. At the very least, my perceptions of the event, and therefore all I might gain from it, are potentially lessened.

Date: 2009-06-20 05:19 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sovay
Or, I may say fuck it all and go visit with Louis Agassiz' cabinet of wonders at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. That's not such a long drive, and perhaps my tree is somewhere in Boston.

Let me know if you do. I should also point out there's an Arboretum.

Date: 2009-06-20 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] opalexian.livejournal.com
#301. Tell a couple people at the con-hell, write it on your business card (if you have one >_<) and bam you should have 1,000 in no time at all.

Twitter is...weird. It has a ton of pretty famous people on it, some of them really nerdy. Mmm, nerd feeds...

Date: 2009-06-21 03:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abbadie.livejournal.com
Does blogging change the things we do.

My own LJ is mostly dead these days; I have little time, but mostly because I've had problems with my girlfriend -who paradoxically loves using Hi5 and other such web aberrations- since she seems to think I have less time for her and I get distracted from important thigs like work due to blogging and posting in e-lists. Now, since I'm currently only posting at the witchcraft e-list I run (and I'm posting about once every month), and my LJ is quite dormant most of the time, I can't really figure this out.

I do know that a Ning networking site she loves, when all our mutual friends started using it, has caused me at least two very serious personal problems, provoked a temporary break-up, caused very dear friends to treat me coldly and an ex-girlfriend who still used to be a very close friend won't speak to me any longer -it wasn't even anything I did or I posted, they just clashed in my late Ning page and started fighting each other. And they wonder why I refuse to have a profile page there again.

Don't get me wrong - my girlfriend lives in a different state and we wouldn't have met without the internet. But oh how I hate web networking now, the whole thing has taken the flavor out of it.

Date: 2009-06-21 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ardiril.livejournal.com
... and now those of us Caitlin Cling-ons (or do you prefer Kiernan Kling-ons?) on Twitter retweet (RT) your micro-preview so all of our followers can read it ...

Ain't this fun? ;-P

Have a nice Sunday!

Date: 2009-06-21 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ardiril.livejournal.com

Oh drat! I forgot to do the math. If 300 of your followers - with an average of 50 followers each - retweet, you reach 15,000 people.

I knew this had a point to make.

Date: 2009-06-21 04:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Oh drat! I forgot to do the math. If 300 of your followers - with an average of 50 followers each - retweet, you reach 15,000 people.

It's a nice plan, but so far only 2 have done it. I note you are one, and I thank you.

Date: 2009-06-21 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ardiril.livejournal.com
Patience. One step at a time.

Date: 2009-06-21 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com
Patience. One step at a time.

Sorry. After fourteen years of publishing, my patience is beyond recall.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

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