greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Comment, kittens!

It's not just the innate creepiness of the "praying hands" and swirly lights aspect of the present LJ banner, it's the nigh unto vomitous pale orange/melon-colored scheme. And I have to see it while I compose a journal entry. Someone ought to have to hurt.

Gagh.

Meanwhile, another bout of "not enough sleep" last night, despite my being a good little drone to the Queen Bee of 21st Century Pharmaceutical & Invalidism Culture and having refilled my "sleep aid" script. I think I almost, maybe, slept six hours. And it all just fucking figures. I'm working my ass off, and I'm mostly sleeping well. Often eight hours a night. Then, I force myself to take time off which is, essentially, necessary, and – KERBLAM – no sleep. Write or die. Dance until your feet bleed, or die. Don't stop dancing.

Yesterday was a Very Bad Day, and I don't have those very often anymore. Because I'm a good drone and take my meds and spend the day making honey and all. But yesterday, slip, and there's a Very Bad Day of the sort we've not seen in...quite some time. More than a year. We did leave the house and drive aimlessly about Providence for a while. The weather was too unpredictable to make an attempt at reaching the shore. Sunny, but a chilly wind. It's so green out there, but still it doesn't feel like May. I make the honey, like a good bee, and still the warmth doesn't come, and if I ever dare to stop and catch my breath, then there's no sleep, and the rage returns, and the noise, and the wish for self-annihilation, and no, no, no, you don't know what I mean.

Also, I just accidentally took my morning and afternoon pills at the same time. Booya.

The good news? Spooky just found my riding crop. It vanished when we moved here from Atlanta three years ago, and I despaired of having another so fine, without ponying up (hahahahahahahaha) a tidy sum at a tack shop. But no. Spooky found it.

While we were out, we stopped by Acme Video, and in a desperate effort to quell ye olde inner dæmons, I went hog wild renting comfort movies. Five of them. Movies where the wold is soothingly black and white and grey. Last night we watched two of them, George Cukor's The Philadelphia Story (1940, one of the most perfect films ever made) and John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). It helped, as long as the movies were playing. They ended, and the curtain came down again.

All I need is a reliable supply of opiates, enough for a couple of good doses a week. Paregoric would be perfect. Or laudanum. Or Vicodin. Anything.

In a couple of weeks, I turn 47. There are no words for how utterly fucking fucked up this is. Not just the "Woe is me, I'm getting old" part. That's obvious. No, it's the time dilation. The surreality of having lived from Then until Now, and through the shitstorm in between. It's a wicked sick excuse for a joke, and there's not even a god to blame it on. Only Chance and Probability and all those other rational, empirical anti-gods of Science.

I do have a wishlist at Amazon. You can look at it if you wish. I'm not adverse to gifts this time of year, even if they're of the non-opiate variety.

Oh, and you may now see the complete, final cover of Two Worlds and In Between, just by clicking here. Okay, it's not complete complete, as it still lacks the text of the flap copy. But it's mostly complete. Pay close attention to the book the painting me holds on the front cover. With a larger canvas, infinite regression could have been mimicked. Lee and Kyle are geniuses. They have wrapped my words in folds of zebra flesh and bergamot and vetiver and claret velvet.

Judge the book by its cover. Please.

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus commented how Kathe Koja still has a thing for the "love is doom" motif we saw in Skin (1993) and Strange Angels (1995) and Kink (1996). Okay. He didn't name all those books. I filled in the gap. I don't know how Kathe feels about this (I may ask her), but, for my part, yeah...love is mostly doom. Exceptions are few and far between.

Listing to Starboard, Hardly Yar,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Okay, what the fuck is up with the LJ banner today? Is this a reference to the Rapture flap?

No sleep until after six ayem, so fuck you, Mr. Insomnia. I was in bed at 2 a.m., to no avail, and this is what I get for trying to sleep without pharmaceutical backup.

Yesterday's first day of quasi-vacation bore no resemblance at all to an actual day of quasi-vacation. Which is to say work stuff kept me at the desk most of the day. Oh, and I installed Adobe Photoshop Elements on my iMac. Adobe Photoshop Elements has to have the most idiotic installation disk ever.

It's almost warm out there today.

Still no word from my agent. I think the "warning label" might be at the root of the quiet.

Last night we saw David O. Russell's very impressive The Fighter. And read Under the Poppy. And played Rift. And why the fuck is my left ear ringing?

And there was The Dream this morning, and that's enough for now.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Today was going to be a day off. That was the plan yesterday. But it's not as warm as it was going to be, only the low 60s F, and it might rain. So, more work, instead. Also, I slept for shit, not finally succumbing until sometime after dawn. I think that part was my fault. Vicodin and Red Bull are not your sleepy-time combo. Felt awfully nice, though. Sort of like sex, without the grunting and secretions and funny faces. And it makes any MMORPG 47.3% more enjoyable.

Absolutely perfect Fringe season finale, which we didn't see until last night. I shall drop no spoilers, but allow me a hearty YES!. Thank fuck the show was renewed for another season.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,519 words on Blood Oranges. To understand where this book's headed, you also have to understand that the task I've set for myself is, if we speak in the Hollywood "high concept," what I think would happen if Joss Whedon and Quentin Tarantino set out to write a ParaRom novel together, one in which a demon slayer (who's also a heroin addict) is bitten by a werewolf, then turned by a vampire with a vendetta. Damn, there's a good title. Vampire with a Vendetta, directed by Robert Rodriquez. That would be the sleazier film adaptation. Anyway, yes. It's going well.

If you're a Sirenia Digest subscriber and would like to weigh in on whether or not I continue the "Question @ Hand" feature, I'll be watching the poll I started last night for at least a couple days more.

Current eBay auctions! Have a look!
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I used to write,
I used to write letters. I used to sign my name.
I used to sleep at night,
Before the flashing lights settled deep in my brain.

But by the time we met,
By the time we met the times had already changed...
(Arcade Fire)

No, nothing special. Just sort of where I am right now. But, have you noticed? I mean, how it's much easier to find people with insomnia than without? See, it didn't used to be that way. I remember.

---

Yesterday was an assembly day, as I predicted. And Sirenia Digest #65 has gone out to subscribers. I very much hope you enjoy the issue. Thanks again to everyone who answered the most recent Question @ Hand.

Today, I need to do a small bit of editing/reworking on "Fake Plastic Trees," following questions from the editors. And I need to finish the updated FAQ for the new Sirenia Digest page. And answer email. And just maybe have energy left to start thinking hard about the two projects that need to be consuming May.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

---

For months now I've been pondering something I usually call "virtual transgenderism." I started thinking about it a lot right after I started playing City of Heroes back in October (I stopped playing in January or so, for various reasons). I was part of a very good rp group, and most of the characters were ostensibly female. But after about two weeks, I put two and two and four and six together and, with a little help from people who'd been playing for years, realized that almost every one of our "female" players were guys, including lots of guys in the military. Like, you know, GUYS. At first, I was sort of baffled, the way you're baffled when someone plays an especially clever joke on you. But then, then I thought, "Hey, this is really fucking cool." And I thought that because, you see, all these guys were very good a playing women. All sorts of women (most of whom just happened to have super powers), from insecure, nerdy twenty-somethings to smugly confident queens of Faerie. They weren't playing caricatures of women. They were playing women. I was amazed.

See, I can be naive and slow on the uptake. I'm old. When I was in my twenties, we had video arcades with shit like Galaga and Joust and Pac-Man, coin slots and joysticks. We didn't have gaming technology that allowed people to, virtually, become other people. People of other sexes, genders, sexual orientation, races, species, etc. So, it takes some getting used to. But, of course, a large number of the female characters in WoW and Rift are male, and, I'm willing to bet this is true of all MMORPGS. On Second Life, I'm pretty sure 95% of women are actually men. And I'm sure a lot of this is simply guys who think their chick toons are hot and a lot more interesting – but, even then, we still have teenage boys and grown men playing with virtual paper dolls. Many of these guys, though, they're acting out female characters. I just think it's very cool. I think it's a step in the right direction. Maybe a very small step, but a step, all the same. It says something if guys can get together online and openly pretend to be girls. Last night on Rift I was thinking, It's like Fight Club for the trans-curious. This is why it's called roleplaying. You play a role that is not you. You step into someone else's shoes and look through their eyes.

I'm not even going to get started on how this leads to guys' female toons hitting up other guys' female toons (or male toons hitting up "female" toons) for erotic rp. Someone needs to write a Masters Dissertation. Actually, I'm sure several people have already done so.

Anyway, yes. I wholeheartedly approve. I also approve of the women playing virtual males, though I suspect that's a rarer phenomenon.

---

I think I might have given the wrong impression when I started this Aunt Beast's Book Club thing. I don't expect people to read these books on pain of public humiliation or something of that sort. These are just books I want to promote. And, too, it's a way to push myself to finish novels I start. That's all. No one needs to explain to me why he or she isn't reading one of the selections. It's entirely and utterly casual, optional, and so forth.

Over and Out,
Aunt Beast

Beltane '11

May. 1st, 2011 01:37 pm
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
A happy and fine Beltane to all who wish to be wished a happy and fine Beltane. Winter is behind us, and now for blazing fires and blazing days.

Five hours sleep last night. The latest drug regimen has been helping me sleep the last week or so, eight hours a night two or three nights in a row. So, last night it was a surprise. It was just after six ayem when I finally got to sleep. The sky was the lightest shades of daylight. I covered my head, and pretended it was still night, which helped.

Yesterday was a day off, and it was a good day off. We left the house about 2:30 p.m., and headed north, through Woonsocket to Millville to the Blackstone River Gorge. We lingered briefly at Rolling Dam (aka Roaring Dam). The safety line strung with red pontoons had broken free, and there was damage to a portion of the spillway. I'm guessing it happened when the ice broke up. When we visited in February, the river above the dam was frozen. Also, there was a maple in the water that must have only just gone down, as the branches were filled with reddish sprouts. Then we headed out to the Gorge itself, which lies downstream (to the southeast) of the dam. We've never done the hike, though there and back is only a little more than a mile (depending which trail you take). We climbed to the top and gazed down into that dark tannin-stained water thirty or forty feet below, listening to the rapids, stared into the tops of trees beginning to come back to life. When we left Providence, the sky was cloudy, overcast, but the sun came out about the time we reached the dam, and I was able to take off my sweater and scarf.

In a hollow between slabs of Devonian granite, we found a boggy place that proved to be the remains of a very old garbage dump. Late Nineteenth Century or older. Heaps of glass, brick, ceramics, ornate china shards, shattered jugs, lead nails, shreds of hobnailed boots...it would be a fascinating place to dig, but the park forbids it. Not far past the dump, we found a wide sandy place by the river. I spotted something in the water downstream, which I at first mistook for ducks. However, the disturbance turned out to be two otters (Lontra [?=Lutra] canadensis) frolicking in the shallow, slow-flowing river. I'd never before seen otters in the wild. Various other mustelids, yes (skunks, mink, weasels, etc.), but never otters. We sat and watched them for a about half an hour. They were maybe a hundred yards from us, at the most, and we did most of the watching through a 10x42 monocular. They breached and dove, rolled, and swam swiftly, sinuously, along just below the surface. The air was filled with birdsong. And were actually heard a Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus). It was truly wonderful, and the cumulative effect of yesterday was to lead me to resolve that the stagnant age of sitting at this desk all the time, whether I'm working or not, is over. I'm missing the world, the world I used to live in, the wild.

Part of this, of course, is that, thanks to meds and exercise, my Lousy Rotten Feet have improved dramatically over the last year and a half. I don't even really need the stick anymore. I used it during yesterday's hike, because the ground was so uneven and heights were involved, but, usually, I leave it at home now. Anyway, there are a few photos from yesterday behind the cut, below, and I'll post more tomorrow.

---

And this month, the selection for Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club is Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja (Small Beer Press, 2010). This is such a marvelous book. Koja has become such a very brilliantly polished author, and here she treads territories that have rarely been done justice. There's a faint whiff of Angela Carter. But yes, there's our novel for May.



---

We played far too fucking much Rift last night, mostly questing out of Perspice. The highpoint had to be escorting Kayfax, a talking cat, as it tracked trolls. Kayfax decided that Selwyn and Miisya would make very fine pets, and so we were referred to as "pet." Selwyn made Level 35, and Miisya made 36.

Ah, and by the way. Back at the beginning of March, I vowed to make at least one blog entry every day for four months. I didn't want to jink it by announcing it until I was well in. And now I've made it halfway.

And that's all for now. Have a fine first day of May, kittens.

Springy,
Aunt Beast

30 April 2011, Part 1 )
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Monsieur Insomnie, va niquer ta mère. S'il vous plaît. Merci.

-- Tante Bête

It was full fucking daylight before I found sleep. Maybe 7 a.m. The specifics are a little hazy.

Yesterday, it was too warm to stay inside. It was too warm and I was too filled with anger, and so we left the house. We drove. The temperature was in the low seventies Fahrenheit, and the sun was bright. In Providence, the trees are bright with sprays of green and yellow and pink and white. The grass is going green. We drove about College Hill and the Eastside (not to be confused with East Providence, sensu stricto). And then we drove south. I think we meant, originally, to stop when we got to Wickford, but we kept going, all the way south to Narragansett and Point Judith. Driving through South County, the trees (native hardwoods) are still mostly barren. It still looks a lot like winter down there. Ugly and grey and bleak.

But we reached the sea. And maybe it was warm back in Providence, but at Point Judith, it was just shy of freezing. The surf was rough, and there were about half a dozen surfers making the best of it. We also visited Harbor of Refuge, where we fed cheese crackers to several species of seagulls. We saw other birds near the sea and the salt marshes: cormorants, swans, mallards, robins, Canadian geese, and what was probably a raven. The sea was loud and violent, rising and shattering itself against the granite jetty. And the roar and the violence were much appreciated. I dozed most of the way back to Providence, and when I woke, whatever bit of soothing the sea had accomplished was gone, and there was only the anger again.

Oh, we did have the cameras with us. But I aggressively resisted any urge to take pictures. There's too much sharing as it is.

Last night, I needed comfort movies, so we watched Fight Club (1999) and then Death Proof (2007). Marla Singer and Zoe Bell always help, even if only just a little bit. We played Rift. Selwyn reached Level 31. And then...I didn't sleep. Which brings us full circle, as we say.

I should go. There's work to do, and I'm 1/10th awake, so maybe I'll do some of it. Comment if you wish, and I'll probably reply. I'm going to sit here, finish my tepid coffee, listen to Brown Bird, and bask in the chilly air coming in my open office window.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
A rare alignment of cranial discomfort. Parallel lines of eye-bleeding hurt. I'm not sure Spooky and I have ever before had multi-day headaches at the same time. But we have now. And it sucks rancid weasel ass through a crazy straw, and it needs to fucking stop. My scalp feels like there's broken glass just beneath the skin.

This is a day on which there must be comments. I won't survive without them.

My thanks to Joah, who sent me a link to someone's list of "The Six Creepiest Abandoned Places." I'd argue the list isn't definitive, but it's still a pretty good list. I'm especially taken with Gunkanjima, Japan and Hellingly Asylum. The latter is genuinely exquisite. I would live there in a heartbeat:

On the sheets and pillow case,
In my bed for heaven's sake,
The devil's dancing until late in my head there.
But I could sleep with you there.
I could sleep with you there.


That's interesting. Firstly, that while thinking of Hellingly Asylum the lyrics to a Catharine Wheel song occurred to me. Secondly, that they apply so aptly to last night's insomnia (which was Nigh Unto Monumental, no sleep until after six ayem) and also apply to my emotional reaction to the photographs (follow the link from the article) of that place. Rabbit hole. Subconscious association. Pink Freud. 5 and 1/2 minute hallways. It's all the same thing in here. Anyway, I loved this bit from the article (about another asylum, one in New Jersey):

Listen, because this is important advice: If you ever start a sanatorium, you need to tear that shit down once you’re done with it. Not repurpose it or leave it empty or something; that is just begging – literally begging – for a group of stupid teenagers to sneak inside of it to have illicit sex, where they will inevitably get murdered by the ghosts of madmen. It’s like a Roach Motel for horny morons. You may as well put an “Idiots Fuck Here” sign out front and start up a mortuary next door; you’d make a killing.

See, I don't get to genuinely laugh – that sort of laughter that makes you hurt yourself – that often. That paragraph made me laugh. Oh, in particular, I was soothed by this photo from Hellingly. I'm not bullshitting you. I'm not being sarcastic. That's just...soothing. I think I look like that inside. If you cracked me open, you'd find that room.

---

On this day in 1900, Aleister Crowley broke into and took over the Golden Dawn temple in London, providing the catalyst for the demise of the original Golden Dawn.

---

Yesterday, despite the black mood and the headache, I wrote 1,072 words on "Fake Plastic Trees" while Spooky drew ravens. The story seems to be coming together. After reading yesterday's pages, Spooky said, "This makes me feel so bad. Really, really bad. The complete wrongness of it, of that whole world." I'm taking this as a compliment, because I know she meant it as one.

Intention isn't everything, kittens, but it carries a lot of weight with me.

After working on the story, I wrote an actual Wikipedia entry on Hauffiosaurus, because when I linked to it yesterday there was just a sad-ass, one-sentence stub. That took about another hour.

We saw the latest episode of Fringe last night. Jesus fuck, this show is brilliant. It's gone from a dull first season, all monster-of-the-week nonsense, to sheer fucking wonky universe-warping brilliance. Last night's episode, "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide," has to receive an Emmy nomination. If the Emmy's mean anything (and we already know they don't). This is the first series since Farscape that truly isn't afraid of being as weird as it needs to be, but which isn't just being weird for weird's sake. Pushing Daisies tried to be this brilliant, but was murdered long before it achieved this level of supremely masterful weirdness.

Spooky's doing the tax thing today. Taxes, taxes, we all fall down.

Gods, I just realized I've been wearing the same T-shirt for four days. "Reynolds/Washburne 2008: You Can't Stop the Signal." Dirty fucking nerd. Take a bath and change your damn clothes.

Oh, hello. How long have you been standing there?

You know, for kids,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
Remember when there was sleep in the world? I do. I remember sleep. Real sleep. The sort you woke from refreshed. It's like when Rufus Sewell in Dark City asks William Hurt if he can remember daylight. It's very much like that:

John: Wait. I got a better one. When was the last time you did something during the day?

Bumstead: What do you mean?

John: I just mean during the day. Daylight. When was the last time you remember seeing it? I'm not talking about a distant, half-forgotten childhood memory.I mean, like, yesterday. Last week? When? Do you have a single memory? You don't, do you? I don't think the sun even exists in this place. 'Cause I've been up for hours and hours, and night never ends.

---

The dim memory of real sleep.

My eyes are on fire.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
1) I seem to have figured out that the absolute minimum amount of sleep I need to not feel like shit the next day is six hours. Seven is far better, but I can get by on six. Last night, I didn't get six hours. I went to bed at when-the-hell-ever...about 2:30 a.m., I think...but was up again by 3:30, and didn't get to sleep until about 4:45. I puttered about on WoW, waiting for pills to kick in. Not really playing, just puttering (as playing is counterproductive to getting sleepy). I was glad the see all the "Winter's Veil" crap finally taken down. Shah rode her talbuck from Undercity to Shadowfang Keep. Then she traveled to Dalaran, which I was finally able to explore without nightmarish lag...now that all the goddamn sheeple have moved back to Orgrimmar ("The NEW Lag Capital of Azeroth!"®).

2) Sirenia Digest #61 went out to subscribers late last night. A special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest for wrestling with the PDF for this one. I'd love to hear feedback.

3) All of yesterday was spent proofing and laying out #61, so not much to report, workwise. Rather, not much that isn't dull as dirt. Dull dirt.

Last night, after Night Three of the black-eyed peas I made on New Year's Day, we watched Arnold Laven's deliriously absurd The Monster That Challenged the World (1957). We also watched an episode of No Reservations.

4) There was a moderate seizure last night, the first since September 11th. I've only had two since late August, so I know the meds are doing their job. Before them, I was having two or more a week.

5) And now:



Anyway, today really is a day off. A real day off. Of course, it's cold as a Christian's tit out there. The cold is staring in the window at me, even as I type.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I just figured it out. I'm not an insomniac, after all. Instead, I'm clearly suffering from hypnophobia, which is also called somniphobia. An irrational fear of sleep. Why didn't anyone ever tell me? Hypnophobia sounds ever so much cooler than insomnia.

So, in the weird-shit-happens category, yesterday I complained about some doofus on Amazon.com who suspects I "just threw in an ending" when writing The Red Tree. Which led [livejournal.com profile] robyn_ma to make a funny joke about a magical store called Endings where writers buy, you know, endings. Which led to my wanting to write a story about that very store. So, yesterday I wrote 1,010 words on a new piece (for Sirenia Digest #61) titled "—30—". Don't worry...I asked her permission, and she granted it, so I'm not committing the very crime I was complaining about in yesterday's entry.

Speaking of which, [livejournal.com profile] teacup_carousel has informed me there's a cosmetics company, Archetype Cosmetics, which has evidently named a number of products for my work: So far I've counted Low Red Moon, Child of Hounds, Glass Coffin (which is perhaps not damning in its self but when you consider that the next one is -)Salmagundi, Salambo, Madam Terpsichore and The Gargoyle Trees.

Thing is, this is all perfectly legit. I'm even a tiny bit flattered. I just wish they'd told me, so I could have been a tiny bit flattered earlier on. Also, a word of caution, apparently Archetype Cosmetics has a history of taking a very, very, very long time to fill orders, so consider yourselves warned and don't count this mention as any sort of endorsement.

My grateful thanks to everyone who took a few moments yesterday to comment on The Red Tree over at Amazon.com. It helps. It genuinely does.

---

Last night, we finished reading [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's Valiant. Whereas I very much liked Tithe, I actually loved Valiant. Where the hell was this book when I was sixteen? Street kids, magical heroin, junkies strung out on pixie dust, intrigue in rat-infested New York subways, hot troll action, goth baby dykes, murderous fay women with hooves, and a glass sword. It's a YA novel that isn't afraid to let the monsters be monstrous, and that understands that monsters can be heroes as well as villains, and that has the nerve to cast a troll as the male love interest. Not a prettied-up troll, not the whole cop-out "Beauty and the Beast" shtick where the troll turns out to be an ensorceled prince charming, but an actual, factual troll. So, thank you, Holly. Team Ravus! You rock. Now, on to Ironside.

---

The hypnophobia has me feeling— pretty much literally —like I've been hit by a train (not that I've ever been hit by a train, but I think this is how it would feel), so I'm wrapping this up. I think I'm going to fill the bathtub with black coffee and aspirin and lie in it a while. There's broken glass and razor blades embedded beneath my flesh.

Yours in Pain,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
I should be asleep, but I'm not. Not because of the insomnia. Not this time. It's just hard to sleep with the snow piling up Outside, blown across the street like sand over dunes.

The wind pushes the trees about and bellows around the eaves of the House.

At irregular intervals, snowplows rumble down the street.

I think the sky is lighter than when the sun went down.

But I should at least try. To sleep.

Someday, I'll tell the story about the time I was arrested on Valentine's Day, and all I had in the cell with me was a book of Robert Frost poems.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
This is the special pain of having taken too many sedatives to try and sleep, and then having barely slept at all, and being exhausted and still drugged. Waiting for the pills to wear off. Trying to think, to type, to make decisions. So, gonna number items in this entry, and hope I don't forget anything.

1. My thanks to Steven Lubold and Gordon Duke for marvelous Solstice gifts. And a huge thanks to Kim, who gifted me and Spooky with a household membership to the Providence Athenaeum; this will be of enormous help with my writing. You are all too kind, truly.

2. An amazing number of copies of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume One) have sold in the last two days (375+). Indeed, almost the entire planned printing of the limited edition. In response to demand, Subterranean Press has decided to increase the limited edition's printing from 400 copies to 600 copies. I'm used to my subpress books— especially the limiteds —selling out prior to publication, but I'm told this book "is pre-selling better than anything of yours we've ever announced." So, thank you all. The sale prices are still good, the limited for $40 (regularly $60), though I think the sale ends soon. Someone asked about the print-run for the trade edition, and I think it's somewhere around 2,000 copies (but don't hold me to that). Also, I can now announce that the book's cover will be done by Lee Moyer, an artist I met at the Lovecraft Film Festival and immediately wanted to work with.

3. More subpress news: My sf story, "Hydrarguros" is being reprinted in the forthcoming anthology Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2, and "The Melusine (1898)" will be appearing in an upcoming issue of Subterranean Magazine. But it's probably bigger news that several of my out-of-print subpress anthologies will soon be available in ebook editions for the Kindle (but no, not other readers/formats). From Weird and Distant Shores, Tales of Pain and Wonder, To Charles Fort, with Love, Alabaster, and A is for Alien will all be available for the Kindle in 2011.

4. I wish I were presently coherent enough to be articulate about Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, but I'm too drugged and sleep deprived. I say again, this may well be my favorite film of the year, and it's certainly one of Aronofsky's best (which is saying a lot). I hesitated to use the word lycanthropy in connection with the film, as there are no wolves in sight, but then I see the director has said "I liked this idea that we were kind of making a werewolf movie, except it was a were-swan movie." But, that said, the film transcends all genre tropes and conventions. This is, first and foremost, a film about seeking perfection in one's art, about the limits of the mind and flesh, about escaping repression and one's own mental and physical limitations. It's a film about insanity, and also a film about going sane. It might be the most emotionally devastating film I've seen since John Hillcoat's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. The imagery is breathtaking, as in, I truly found myself not breathing as the images passed before my eyes. Natalie Portman's acting is a revelation, and Clint Mansell's score is, not unexpectedly, brilliant.

5. A good visit from Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) and Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark). We read chapters One and Two of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir on Tuesday night, then Chapter Three on Wednesday afternoon. I am relieved to see that it works. So, thank you Sonya and Geoffrey, and huge thanks to Spooky, who read all 135 pages of the manuscript aloud.

6. On Tuesday, the I received my comp copy of John Joseph Adams new anthology of dystopian fiction, Brave New Worlds, which reprints my sf story "The Pearl Diver," along with stories by the likes of Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Neil Gaiman, Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Ursula K. LeGuin, J. G. Ballard, and, truly, many others.

7. And now, it's time to make the doughnuts. Today will be editing (despite my zombie-like state), so that I can get to Sirenia Digest #61, so that I can get back to work on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir ASAP.
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
I went to bed at 2 ayem, and there was Sonata and Valium, and here I am, still awake.

There's a light dusting of snow Outside.
greygirlbeast: (white)
I look into the mirror, usually by accident, and see the face of someone who hasn't slept well in many years.

Very, very cold Outside (20F, feels like 8F), but warm enough in the House.

Still and all and yet, I wrote 2,014 words on The Drowning Girl yesterday. I passed manuscript page 100. And to the title page I added a subtitle, so that it's now The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I did this for a reason (which is usually, but not always, why I do things). The reason goes back to the problem of the interauthor, which I discussed at length in the entries of August 7th, August 8th, and August 9th. A quote from the August 7th entry, wherein I introduce the (pretty obvious) concept of the interauthor:

Conventions in first-person narratives. Such as, how so few readers pause to consider the existence and motivations of the "interauthor." When you're reading a first-person narration, you're reading a story that's being told by a fictional author, and that fictional author— or interauthor —is, essentially, the central character. Their motivations are extremely important to the story. The simple fact that they are telling the story, in some fictional universe, raises questions that I believe have to be addressed by first-person narratives. Why is the interauthor writing all this down? How long is it taking her or him? Do they intend it to be read by others? Is it a confessional? Reflection? A warning? Also (and this is a BIG one), what happens to the interauthor while the story is being written, especially if it's a novel-length work of fiction?

A first-person narrative occurs in a minimum of two time frames: the present (when the story is being written down) and the past (when the story occurred).

And it baffles me that so few readers or writers pause to consider these facts, and that so few authors address these problems in the text. A first-person narrative is, by definition, an
artifact, and should be treated as such. Rarely do I use the word "should" when discussing fiction writing.

If the subject interests you, I recommend going back and reading the three posts I linked to above, and especially the many comments to them. But getting back to yesterday, and how The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is shaping up, the book it's becoming....

What is most important here is that the reader absolutely must accept that this story is most emphatically not being written for anyone except the interauthor, in this case India Morgan Phelps (a.k.a. Imp). If the reader is unable to accept this conceit, or unaware of it, the book cannot hope to succeed on the level that I mean it to succeed (let's call me the extra-author, existing as I do beyond the narrative). Literally, you'll not be reading the book I am writing, if you fail to grasp this point. Imp is not sane, and Imp has no concern for the needs of readers she isn't writing for. Her thoughts are sometimes a jumble, as her thoughts would be. None of it's being filtered to make it any easier for others to read. Not you, or you, or you. Not my editor and not my agent and not reviewers.

To quote Mark Z. Danielewski's opening warning from House of Leaves, "This is not for you." It truly isn't. But happenstance (by the agent of me, the extra-author) will allow you the opportunity to read the manuscript, even though it was not written for you, or for anyone else but Imp. And yeah, by now I know enough to know how this is going to piss off a lot of readers. But that's not my problem, even if it actually is my problem. If the reader wants to read this particular story, hesheit must meet me more than halfway. This is not for you.

Another thing that I've realized is that Imp is an even less reliable narrator than Sarah Crowe. In The Red Tree there was at least a voice of authority— Sarah's editor, Sharon D. Halperin —even if we might doubt whether or not the editor is being entirely truthful. In The Drowning Girl: A Memoir there is nowhere a voice of authority. There is only Imp's voice. Hence, the factualness of the manuscript cannot be determined (though it's truthfulness is another matter).

By the way, I have made at least one concession to expectation and convention, in that I don't think we will ever know how the manuscript Imp is writing has reached you, the reader. Recall that in some of my works that employ first-person narratives, such as The Dry Salvages and The Red Tree, I made a point of working that bit out. Anyway, it can't help but worry me, how the book will be received by my audience. But I also have to write it the way it should be written, which means the authenticity of the artifact, the product of the interauthor, is more important than the likes and dislikes of the novel's potential readership.

And if you're the sort who's bought into all that "reader-response" hogwash, well...what can I say? If you think the act of reading shapes the true meaning of a book and that the author's intentions are irrelevant, all I can say is this is not for you. In fact, none of my fiction is, if you're that sort of reader. Or if you're simply the sort who expects to be pandered to, the lazy sort who only wants bedtime and fireside tales.

And now, time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Neytiri)
I got almost seven hours sleep last night, probably the best sleep I've had in three weeks. And it's a good thing, because I was becoming seriously useless. Oh, and there was a half hour nap yesterday afternoon, also unusual. So, this morning, I almost don't feel like ass. And sure, I had to use Sonata last night, but I'm reaching the point where sleep is sleep.

I managed to get a little work done yesterday. Mostly reading back over "The Prayer of Ninety Cats," and discovering, to my great relief, that it all holds together and the constituent parts work as a whole. I have to go over it again today, and then make a lot of line edits. I mean this story to be as close to perfect as I can make it. Okay, well...I always do that. But I'm happier with this story than I have been with anything in quite some time. So, no warts if I can help it. Anyway, today will be a day of pulling the digest together. It should be ready to go out tomorrow, and as soon as I get Vince's illustration for "The Prayer of Ninety Cats" we can put it to bed.

I have something this week with Dark Horse. Details as soon as I am able, I promise. I'm very excited about it, but it's also something else that's popped up to interfere with me getting back to work on The Drowning Girl.

I got some work done yesterday on the Dancy box. I think it's actually finished. It no longer looks merely like a carefully orchestrated collection of interesting things invested with obvious meaning. It now has authenticity. It now has clutter. Partly, it was a matter of including enough of the right sorts of items, things that can have no possible significance except to Dancy, and so can only be puzzled over at length. Why did she keep that crayon? Why those marbles?

---

Last night, we watched the Capturing Pandora documentary that comes with the three-disc extended collector's edition of Avatar (thank you, Steven). Lots of fascinating stuff, especially the costuming and linguist Paul Frommer's work creating the Na'vi language. But I think what struck me most of all were comments from Cameron and others about the negative remarks that started popping up online after the first 15 minute preview and the trailers, the idiotic "smurf" and "thundercats" comments on blogs and what have you. Even after the film's release and its enormous critical and financial success, it's clear these comments still sting the creators. So, I'll try not to feel so bad about feeling bad about those stupid Amazon "reviews."

Oh, and speaking of Amazon "reviews," a dirty secret is finally becoming public: "Women writers at war over fake book reviews on Amazon". This is the sort of thing people won't believe, that publishers can be this petty, that this shit is common practice, that the Amazon review system is so completely faulty, corrupt, and potentially damaging. It's very good to see articles like this appearing. Well, except for the condescending "women writers" part of the headline.

Before bed last night, a little WoW, leveling our orcs, and then Spooky read me a story from Joan Aiken's The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories (Big Mouth Books).

And now, the platypus says the time has come.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The not-sleeping is quickly, once again, reaching a crisis state. It's not even one thing, but a combination of things. My wretched insomnia, and the sleeping pills (I know we're supposed to say "sleep aids" now, but fuck it) that really don't work so well (name one, I've taken it). The morning construction noise from the house next door, the one that had a fire this time last year, and they're only just now getting it refurbished. Our noisy upstairs neighbors, who stomp like bloody elephants and test smoke alarms in the morning. The cats. And on and on and on. I don't think I've had a stretch of decent sleep in about three months now, excepting the days in Portland, and it's starting to show.

Three months. And I don't know, maybe it's been longer. The way I feel right now, you could ask me my name and I'd probably get it wrong.

I spent yesterday working on the prolegomenon for #60. Spooky went down to her parents place in South County. I wrote the prolegomenon. Which is the longest it's ever been for any issue of Sirenia Digest. Over two thousand words. So, I wrote two thousand words yesterday, it just wasn't fiction. It was an odd sort of mystery. All will be revealed— to subscribers (which you could be, if you subscribed) —in the fullness of time.

I've learned a surprising amount of Slovak, Croatian, and Hungarian the last week or so.

I'm behind on almost everything. For example, I was supposed to hand in the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between at the end of November, and that's not going to happen. And then there are things I need to send to people. I have a list. I actually do. The poem I need to send out to everyone who donated for Spooky's birthday present, way back in June. A copy of Silk to the person who won it on the seventeenth anniversary of the day I began the novel. Now, I need to get the blog PDF out the everyone who's asked (hopefully today). I have a painting I began a month ago.

I squander so much of my evenings on MMORPGs because the days writing without having slept leave me too tired to do anything constructive with the nights.

The problem of time displacement enter into the equations.

I just need to sleep.

---

Last night, two movies, both surprisingly, unexpectedly good. First, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor's Gamer (2009), which I think really only works if you've subjected yourself to the idiotic hell of Second Life or the Sims. This is the third time now that I've seen sf, in film, address the SL thing. First in Jonathan Mostow's Surrogates (2009), then in Caprica, and now in Gamer. The latter adds a sort of Death Race edge. But there's no mistaking Castle's "Society" as anything but the SL mainland. Unless, of course, you've been smart enough or lucky enough to have never "visited" the SL mainland. Or SL in general. And, of course, the film had Micheal C. Hall, which never hurts. I will also note that all three— Gamer, Caprica, and Surrogates — fared poorly at the box office/ratings, and I suspect, in truth, this is because the number of people who've experienced what's being criticized is so very tiny. Not sure if I'd recommend Gamer to just anyone, as mileage will vary greatly. But if you're a recovering SL addict (like me), I think it's a must see.

The second film, Don McKellar's Last Night (1998), is a quiet little Canadian affair about the last night before the end of the world, as everyone in Toronto counts down to midnight and the end. Exactly what fate is befalling mankind is never named, which doesn't matter in the least, because this is a film about the characters, not the disaster. The disaster (which can pretty much be puzzled out, if you're paying attention) is only the catalyst. I'd never even heard of the film before last night, which is odd. Also, it had David Cronenberg. I definitely recommend it, unless you're more interested in special effects than characterization. Last Night has virtually no special effects, which makes it all the more effective.

---

I suppose I should go drink my coffee— which has gotten cold —and try to salvage the day.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,731 words, and I found THE END of "The Prayer of Ninety Cats." The story is presently 9,918 words long, but I suspect it'll be well over 10k after the polish I'll be giving it tomorrow. Structurally, it's something I've not done before, in that it's second person and partly written as a screenplay. I think it's a story I've been trying to write for a very long time. I'm sort of amazed that I finally did it. The effort has left me a bit off balance. As soon as I'm done tweaking it, and Sirenia Digest has gone out to subscribers, I'll be getting back to work on The Drowning Girl.

There's been too much news lately. Too much news pollution. North Korea. A projected date for the extinction of tigers in the wild— 2020 (which pretty much is the same thing as a projected date for the extinction of tigers). The American police state and the TSA*. Fantastic strides in medicine that will only ever be available to the wealthy. Black Friday.

I mostly try to avoid the news. Mostly.

After the writing yesterday, and after dinner, we watched three more episodes of Doctor Who, up through "Vincent and the Doctor." I thought I would hate the latter, and it turned out to be one of my favorite episodes ever.

We also watched an episode of American Masters, "LennoNYC," which was very, very good.

Sleep wouldn't come, and finally I broke down and took a pill, and read this Aleister Crowley biography I've been reading. I dozed off sometime after four-thirty ayem, and slept fitfully until eleven this morning. Something like six and a half hours.

Turns out the Julie Taymor adaptation of The Tempest is only being released in Minneapolis and LA on December 10th. Whether or not it will ever see wider distribution is anyone's guess.

I have a list of the people who've asked for a PDF of the blog, November 2001/April 2004, and I'll see those go out next week.

Today, I'm changing my Twitter username from @greygirlbeast to @auntbeast. Yes, I still hate Twitter.

And today I'll be working on the layout for Sirenia Digest #60. I need a little space between me and "The Prayer of Ninety Cats," so I'm going to wait until tomorrow to get back to it.

Time to make the doughnuts,

More or Less Yours,
Aunt Beast

*Until such time as the TSA backs the fuck off, I'll not be traveling anywhere I cannot reach by train, automobile, bus, or boat.
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
Bye bye long day,
I need to sleep so much.
You shine on me.
Too much is not enough.

On the sheets and pillow case,
In my bed for heaven's sake,
The devil's dancing until late in my head there.
But I could sleep with you there.
I could sleep with you there.

Always.
Always.

Bye bye long day.
I need to sleep so much,
Nineteen hours straight.
Too much is not enough...
— Catherine Wheel

I wrote a great deal of Silk to that album, which always surprises people, because they imagine that me as some goth-punk cliché. Like I wrote the damn thing holed up in a dark room listening to nothing but Bauhaus and Joy Division.

I did. Listen to Bauhaus and Joy Division when I was writing it, I mean. But I also listened to Catherine Wheel. The girl who used to cut my hair was dating the vocalist, though she lived in Georgia and he in London.

I'm awake and babbling. I start to think I will never sleep normally ever again. I'm annoyed because I meant to be reading Shirley Jackson's The Sundial, but discovered I am, instead, reading Shirley Jackson's The Bird's Nest. Which is a fine novel, just not what I meant to be reading.

I was telling Spooky, earlier, about living in Athens, and getting to know Michael Stipe. Because we bought our comics in the same comics shop, and drank at the same bar. How he gave me permission to quote a line of R.E.M. lyrics in an issue of The Dreaming: "It's a Man Ray kind of sky." But then the record label started making trouble, and we didn't have time to get it sorted out. So, I changed the line to "It's a memory kind of sky."

I am exhausted. My eyes are on fire. And I can't sleep. And one of the worst things about insomnia is that everyone has advice. They're well meaning, I know. Well intentioned. But I do so tire of the advice. It's hard to convince people you've heard it all, tried it all. Even when you say, "It's one reason I'm seeing a psychiatrist, and I have meds, and whatnot." They still talk about warm milk and hot baths. I do not want advice. I want sleep.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I'm not going to talk about the insomnia this morning.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,024 words on "The Prayer of Ninety Cats" and still didn't find The End. But this happens sometimes. I sit down to write a vignette, and it insists on becoming a short story...sometimes a long short story. This one may reach 9,000 words, which means Sirenia Digest subscribers are, quite literally, getting more this month than they bargained for. I do like the story, and I'm glad things went this way, though I suspect it will require a day of vigorous polishing.

My great thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney, who, by her own initiative, compiled all my blog entries between November 21st, 2001 and April 16th, 2004, all the time from the blog's beginning until I began mirroring it at LiveJournal. This actually comes as a great relief, as I worry constantly about all those entries over at Blogger (I stopped posting the journal to Blogger in late 2006). Anyway, the portion compiled by [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney, as a PDF, comes to 920 pages, about 320,000 words. Which leads me to suspect that I've written quite a bit more than a million words of blog since I began in 2001. All my novels combined likely come to half that. Anyway, thanks again, and if anyone wants to do that with the LJ half, I wouldn't complain. Also, I will freely supply copies of the 2001-2004 PDF to anyone who wants one.

Cold and grey Outside. Chilly and cat-bedeviled inside the House.

Three more episodes of Doctor Who last night, so we're now at "The Hungry Earth." I begin to detect a theme (and that was a damned sexy reptile woman).
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes, a new name for the blog. Names come and names go. They can have no more permanence than may faces. Yesterday, I was seized by the need for a change, so thank you, Elvis Costello. Also, I think I won't much longer feel like "greygirlbeast." I think, in my older years, I may simply become "Aunt Beast" (thank you, Madeleine L'Engle and also Joah). If the shoe fits...but sadly, I don't think I can ever change the name of this account.*

There's a rather marvelous review at Zone-SF.com, one of the best I've read of The Red Tree. I have only one quibble, and it's that the reviewer veers off course near the end by assuming knowledge of authorial intent. I do not see The Red Tree as a book meant to go "raising those hairs on the back of the neck." If it does that for you, fine. But do not expect that effect. I'm not the one who labels me "horror" (or whatever). And yeah, this does matter. If a reader perceives a text as existing within a given genre, then they burden it with the expectations of that genre, shoeboxing it and expecting it to deliver X or Y or Z, when it's very likely the author was going for Q or G. Any book may only fail or succeed on its own merits, not relative to any other book, or based on how well it works when perceived as any given genre.

Still, a really good review. And I hope I don't sound ungrateful, because I don't mean to. But the Constant Reader will recall what a sore spot this is for me.

---

Now, the Mars story. It would seem that I was asking one too many stories of myself this autumn. And the story wasn't coming...again. Even after I reshelved "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars" and began "On a Lee Shore." I lost a week staring at the screen, and staring, and not writing. Fortunately, the anthology's editor (both TBA) has accepted "Tidal Forces" in lieu of a Mars story. So, all's well that ends well (even though I did lose that week). Now, I just have to get Sirenia Digest written, and get back to work on The Drowning Girl. Oh, and pull together the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between for subpress. That's not so much...

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Bid if you are able and so inclined. Still recovering from the joys of income taxes. Thanks.

---

So...Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The highlights. Well, on Friday, I tried to write a Mars story, but I've covered that already. I also got a really big box of Mike Mignola books from Rachel Edidin at Dark Horse Comics, who it seems may soon be my editor. I've already devoured the first two "library editions" of Hellboy. "Pancakes" is sheer brilliance. The books were the best bit of Friday. Reading the comics, I'd swear Mignola wrote the character with Ron Perlman in mind.

On Saturday, it became obvious to me the Mars story wasn't happening any time soon, and I contacted the aforementioned editor. Also, we watched the latest episode of Fringe, which was especially good.

Yesterday, we left the House. I'd not been out since the 9th, and the weather was good (today, it's not). We just wandered about town, east of the river. There were antique shops on Wickenden Street, and another trip to What Cheer at Wayland Square. There was an exquisitely embellished old car. There was an Indian grocery on Hope Street. We saw a sad clown driving a car. There were late splashes of autumn. There were two wonderful toy shops. We were good kids, and bought nothing. So, a good day, despite my agoraphobia, despite my ouranophobia. I kept my eyes on the ground, and all was well. Okay, not the entire time. I had to look up the three times Spooky spotted sundogs. But sundogs do not inspire dread or unease. It was a good day.

Back home, there were deli sandwiches, and I spent most of the evening with City of Heroes and Villains (while Spooky played LOTR Online; it's weird, us playing two different MMORPGs). My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus for giving me a lot of help last night actually learning how to play the game. Verily, he has the patience of a glacier. And thanks to "Sekhmet" and "Enth'lye" for very good rp later on. Lizbeth, who is Erzébetta from the future, is regaining her glamour, even as she realizes she's not from the same timeline as this Erzébetta. Mistakes were made, which is why you should never try this at home, that whole fiddling with time thing. You never know which of the multiverses you'll land in...or create. Oh, very good rp on Saturday night, which was mostly Erzébetta and Sekhmet reliving the horror (yes, here the word applies) of a long ago night at Castle Csejte (near Trencín, Hungary), what really happened.

I will not thank Monsieur Insomnia, who kept me awake until after 5 ayem (CaST).

Sincerely Yours, By Any Other Name,
Aunt Beast

...I am a goat girl.
Thinking goatish thoughts, dreaming goatish dreams,
Digging up tin cans, and chewing on your sleeve.
—— Tanya Donelly

14 November 2010 )


* I see that "auntbeast" is taken, but "aunt_beast" is not.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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