greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
[personal profile] greygirlbeast
Gods, but I'm no good at trip summaries. There are photos behind the cut.

I'm home, and I almost broke the big toe on my left foot night before last. It isn't broken, just bruised. I jammed it into a step as we (Peter and Susan Straub, Spooky, and I) were going to dinner on Tuesday night. Horrid bruise behind my toenail.

My agent managed to talk me into taking the bus down. When she first suggested it, I said "Ew," but she said "No, really. It's actually pretty nice these days. "But Port Authority!" I declared, but she persisted. So, Monday night I conceded, and we took the bus down on Tuesday morning, the Peter Pan - Bonanza express to NYC, and...it was actually cheap (half the price of Amtrak) and comfortable and quite nice. So, I see a lot of bus travel in our future. Normally, we drive to New Haven, then take the commuter rail to Grand Central Station. Which is a pain in the ass. This was better. Who'd have guessed.

We arrived in Manhattan about three fifteen in the p.m., and my meeting at Writers House was at four. We caught a taxi (usually, I have great taxi karma, by the way) from Port Authority to West 26th Street. I adore the building that houses Writers House. It was originally the bank John Astor's employees used, and it's a beautiful old Guided Age building.

Anyway, a good meeting with Merrilee. She loves The Drowning Girl, and has pronounced the first chapter of Blood Oranges the "most compelling thing I've ever written." And she's persuaded me to finish that book before writing Blue Canary. It was a hard decision, but yeah, I'm switching the two around. I hope to finish the former by the end of July, then have Blue Canary completed by the end of January 2012. So, a very good meeting, and we talked about many other things, but I can't set it all down here.

After the meeting, Spooky (who'd been visiting with her sister, Steph, at the camera store where she works) and I headed uptown to Peter's house. As always, Peter and Susan were grand hosts. We had dinner at Nonna, a wonderful Italian restaurant, pure comfort food. Later, back at their house, much good conversation. There was a rather strange bit of a shock when I realized the last time I visited Peter and Susan was on May 17th, 2001, exactly ten years previously, to the day.

At eleven p.m., Spooky and I went to bed (!) and proceeded to sleep until ten in the ayem, an amazing ten hours (!!). Peter finally woke us via the intercom. Then he made a breakfast of scrambled eggs, toasted English muffins, and double espressos. We said our goodbyes and Spooky and I headed off to the American Museum of Natural History to catch the special sauropod exhibit (I'll write about that tomorrow). While we were in the museum, a deluge commenced, and from the relative cover of a hotel's awning I hailed a taxi back to Port Authority. We left the city about 6 p.m., and were back in Providence by 10:15. Would have been sooner, but the traffic and rain were horrendous. Just about everything was closed, so we had to get a disgusting dinner from McDonalds; I'd not eaten McDonalds since 2004, and Spooky hadn't eaten from McDonalds since the '90s.

Oh, and an aside: If you consider yourself a science-fiction fan, but you don't know who Harlan Ellison is, you've no right to consider yourself versed in sf (you don't have to like Harlan, but you do have to at least know his part in the history of the genre). Otherwise, you're sort of like an expert in Russian literature who's never read Tolstoy.

And I must work, so here are photos:





Writers House.



Me on the steps outside Writers House. The grey hair shines, and my blind eye squints.



I covet this bookshelf at Peter's. With this bookshelf, I could stop using my floors as shelves, and my bookish squalor would be diminished.



Spooky and Peter in the kitchen.



Sleepy Spooky.



Peter ordering The Book Thief on his iPhone.



Hector, the Old and Grumpy Man. Blurry because he wouldn't stand still.



Morning! View from the guest room.



The evidence, in the guestbook, of the date of my last visit...



...and now.



On the way to the museum yesterday morning.

All photographs Copyright © 2011 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac.



Later this evening, I'm going to post an itemized cost for the trip, as evidence of why I'm not a traveling author: I can't afford to be.

Date: 2011-05-19 06:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] martianmooncrab.livejournal.com
I covet Peter's bookcases too... and the one empty shelf!

Date: 2011-05-19 06:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

and the one empty shelf!

I found that empty shelf fascinating.

Date: 2011-05-19 06:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kurtmulgrew.livejournal.com
I was also curious about the one empty shelf.

Date: 2011-05-19 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

It might be a doorway to an alternate universe.

Date: 2011-05-19 07:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingthedark.livejournal.com
Yes. If you squint hard enough, you can see the books leaking through from the alternate universe.

Date: 2011-05-19 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Now I see it! The 5 1/2 minute bookshelf!

Date: 2011-05-19 06:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mizliz13.livejournal.com
Yes, the empty shelf. Curious.

Lovely picture of you. Sleepy Spooky, or, perhaps, contemplating the origin of the universe Spooky?

Also, the entire world should read The Book Thief. I recommend it all the time at work.

Date: 2011-05-19 08:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Sleepy Spooky, or, perhaps, contemplating the origin of the universe Spooky?

I think she was only contemplating bed.

Also, the entire world should read The Book Thief.

Agreed.

Date: 2011-05-19 06:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] grandmofhelsing.livejournal.com
I need those bookshelves. Then all of the books I have stacked on the floor in my office wouldn't keep toppling over, causing the books on top to do annoying things like hit me in the head.

Date: 2011-05-19 08:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Then all of the books I have stacked on the floor in my office wouldn't keep toppling over, causing the books on top to do annoying things like hit me in the head.

None of my stacks have read a level that threaten mu head. But they're pretty precarious.

Date: 2011-05-19 07:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stsisyphus.livejournal.com
...my blind eye squints.

Why does it squint? I wouldn't think it would be light-reactive.

I covet this bookshelf at Peter's.

That does make me miss the old shelf wall we had at the old house. We didn't keep it completely stocked with books, but every spot was used and well-appreciated.

Later this evening, I'm going to post an itemized cost for the trip...

I estimate....$350.00 for one day. Complete guess.

Date: 2011-05-19 08:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com
Why does it squint? I wouldn't think it would be light-reactive.

There are mysteries about my bad eye. But here's what's known:

1. In bright light, it closes. And as I get tired, the lid droops and, as I age, it tends to wander.

2. On the Snellen Chart, my left eye registers 20/200, which makes me legally blind in that eye. Actually, a score of 20/60 qualifies as legal blindness.

3. The blindness, which wasn't even diagnosed correctly until 1986, was the result of a an in utero infection by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. The infection was probably passed to me via my mother's Siamese cat, via my mother's bloodstream. The infection left a large scar on my left cornea.

4. There is a minute amount of peripheral vision in that eye.

5. I have absolutely no binocular vision or genuine depth perception (I have a sort of weird psuedo-depth perception that my brain manufactured to compensate, but that's another story).

What we don't know:

1. Why my left eye closes in bright light (but it could pertain to the aforementioned peripheral vision, and the dominance of my right eye).

2. Why I can close my blind eye without closing my right eye, but not the other way round.

3. Why my left eye produces a vivid yellow eyeshine in flash photos, while my right produces the normal red eyeshine (but this likely relates to refraction of the scar).

So, there you go.

I estimate....$350.00 for one day. Complete guess.

Close.
Edited Date: 2011-05-19 08:58 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-05-19 10:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stsisyphus.livejournal.com
...I can close my blind eye without closing my right eye, but not the other way round.

Now there's an interesting oddity. I have a similar problem with flexing my eyebrows.

Date: 2011-05-19 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nykolus.livejournal.com
the grey suits you, if i may be so bold. and that bookshelf is lovely! hector, the old and grumpy man looks like a charmer. sounds like a good trip all round.
all these titles floating about... i'm confused. BLUE CANARY is the YA novel and BLOOD ORANGES is the new were-vamp novel?
cheers.

Date: 2011-05-19 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

all these titles floating about... i'm confused. BLUE CANARY is the YA novel and BLOOD ORANGES is the new were-vamp novel?

Yes.

Date: 2011-05-19 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vrykolakes.livejournal.com
I covet the books, the shelves, the beautiful front door of Writer's House and the decorative ironwork on and above the door, and, and, and...

I will guess that "the wit of Schow" on your note of 17 May, 2001 refers to a note left by author David J. Schow, a writer whose work I love almost as much as I love yours.

Date: 2011-05-19 09:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I will guess that "the wit of Schow" on your note of 17 May, 2001 refers to a note left by author David J. Schow,

Exactly.

Date: 2011-05-19 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaz-mahoney.livejournal.com
Aunt Beast Takes Manhattan sounds like the title of a memoir I'd love to read.

Also, I am very happy to hear about your agent's love for Blood Oranges! Excited you'll be writing it next. If you ever want an extra reader for the manuscript when it's done, I realise it's probably out of the question but... hey, might as well speak up. You're moving nearer to 'my' territory genre-wise, and I can't wait to see Aunt Beast's take on UF/PR and later, YA. I imagine it will make many people tremble. I suspect it will make my day.

Date: 2011-05-19 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com
Aunt Beast Takes Manhattan sounds like the title of a memoir I'd love to read.

Truthfully, I've only visited NYC nine times.

You're moving nearer to 'my' territory genre-wise, and I can't wait to see Aunt Beast's take on UF/PR

Be warned, it's going to be a fairly ruthless gutting of those genres. If I had to label it, I'd call it anti-UF/PR.
Edited Date: 2011-05-19 09:03 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-05-19 09:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaz-mahoney.livejournal.com
I know, and yet I would still love to read it. I am fully aware of the failings of the books that get stuck with those labels. But, as with all things, there are a few gems and those are the books I seek out. Sometimes - very occasionally - there are some genuinely good books hiding behind bad covers (and worse marketing).

I think a CRK anti-UF/PR would make me very happy.

Date: 2011-05-19 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jdack.livejournal.com
Whenever I see someone post a real life photo of those old buildings I get a strange little stomach quiver (the pleasant kind) like I'm suddenly reminded New York et all is a real place that exists outside of movies.

I've got to get off the west coast some time.

Date: 2011-05-19 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I've got to get off the west coast some time.

Indeed. But I do understand the difficulties and expense of travel (hence, I do so little of it.

Date: 2011-05-19 07:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] timesygn.livejournal.com

I want Straub's toaster. The one behind Spooky's left shoulder in the "Sleepy Spooky" picture. That one. Or one just like it.

Date: 2011-05-19 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I want Straub's toaster.

That's funny. He complained about it not having a timer.

Date: 2011-05-19 09:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] timesygn.livejournal.com

I've been toasting my bread on a bent wire hanger since Bush was President.

That's it. I'm driving to Manhattan and taking his.

Date: 2011-05-19 07:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kambriel.livejournal.com
I find it fascinating that so many have commented on the lone empty bookshelf... something I noticed right away as well. It's as if we covet, appreciate and dream about what is not there more sometimes than what is.

Date: 2011-05-19 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com
I find it fascinating that so many have commented on the lone empty bookshelf... something I noticed right away as well. It's as if we covet, appreciate and dream about what is not there more sometimes than what is.

I think it drives home the power of negative space.
Edited Date: 2011-05-19 09:06 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-05-19 11:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kambriel.livejournal.com
And the possibility of potential in what exactly could fill that which resides in the emptiness.

Date: 2011-05-19 07:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] homewardangel.livejournal.com
I envy your scarf. And spooky looks pretty in the sleepy photo especially.

Glad to hear the trip went well - and for the info on the bus. i may have to switch modes of travel.

Date: 2011-05-19 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Glad to hear the trip went well - and for the info on the bus. i may have to switch modes of travel.

It truly was a surprise.

Date: 2011-05-19 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xjenavivex.livejournal.com
Thank you for sharing the pics of your trip as well as the details.

Date: 2011-05-19 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

You're welcome.

Date: 2011-05-19 07:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cucumberseed.livejournal.com
I covet that bookshelf to the point that it makes me inarticulate. I'd like to point at it for a while and say "bookshelf... want..." in my best impression of Dynasty Warriors' rendition of Wei Yan.

Date: 2011-05-19 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com
I covet that bookshelf to the point that it makes me inarticulate.

Yeah...
Edited Date: 2011-05-19 09:07 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-05-19 07:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lomer.livejournal.com
I covet Pete's apartment! When we have guests we have to move the coffee table in the living room to make room for the airmattress. Our Manhattan apartment is tiny in comparison! (And large compared to my friends NYC apartments.) Sounds like you had a lovely trip.:)

Date: 2011-05-19 09:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com
I covet Pete's apartment! When we have guests we have to move the coffee table in the living room to make room for the airmattress.

It's not an apartment, but actually a huge brownstone.

By the way, I had no idea you'd move to NYC.
Edited Date: 2011-05-19 09:08 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-05-19 10:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lomer.livejournal.com
A whole brownstone to himself? Now I'm super jealous!

I moved to NYC two years ago. :) I've been paying my rent doing background and stand in work on tv and movies while auditioning in vain. I did get lines in the movie "Shame" with Michael Fassburg (or however you spell his name.) That's the most success I've had though.

Date: 2011-05-20 12:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Cool. I suppose Nebari migrate northwards...

Date: 2011-05-19 08:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jessamyg.livejournal.com
WHO doesn't know who Harlan is? I'm sure his volume is enough that everybody has at least heard him, even if it is only the hint of a whisper at a great distance. Maybe Harlan is the cause of the great plague of insomnia that covers the world?

Date: 2011-05-19 09:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

WHO doesn't know who Harlan is?

Believe me, there are people. And it just makes me sad and sort of sick.

Date: 2011-05-19 10:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] captaincurt81.livejournal.com
Good to hear the trip was such a fruitful and encouraging one. Thanks for the 'bookshelf porn.' When I see photos of authors near their shelves of books my focus shifts after initial curiosity is satisfied and I try to read the spines of the goodies shelved behind them. Nirvana!

Date: 2011-05-19 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I try to read the spines of the goodies shelved behind them.

Sadly, I don't think the resolution much allows for that.

Date: 2011-05-19 10:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] captaincurt81.livejournal.com
Still I squint and lust.

Date: 2011-05-19 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrs-ralph.livejournal.com
I too love the bookcase but I see from the stacks of books piled around the house that the rule of bookcases still holds true: You never have enough room on your bookshelves.

Date: 2011-05-19 11:09 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sovay
I covet this bookshelf at Peter's.

That is a very good bookcase.

I like the photo of Spooky.

Date: 2011-05-20 05:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jadakath.livejournal.com
I love the gray hair and the Spooky photo, too!

Date: 2011-05-21 12:46 am (UTC)
blackestdarkness: (death)
From: [personal profile] blackestdarkness
The photos are wonderful. Thanks for sharing them.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

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