greygirlbeast: (Default)
Um. Yeah. Slept until the ass crack of noon, which means I got eight full hours of sleep for the first time in ages. I've been sleeping better in general, which I tend to do when I'm writing a lot. Plus, we were out yesterday and I soaked up a lot of sun, and the Vitamin D never hurts. Those gummy things are good, but they can't match getting it straight from the source.

My grateful thanks to everyone who donated a little or a lot yesterday. You guys really are wonderful. I've paid my SVP dues, dues for my twenty-eighth year in the Society, and I have a small sum left over to put towards the unexpected doctor's appointment on Friday.

Yesterday, I realized the next scene in the ninth chapter couldn't be written unless I visited a cemetery out on Aquidneck Island. I mean, sure, I could have faked it. But I fucking hate doing that. I can never write a real-world place well unless I've actually been there. So, about 2 p.m., Spooky and I left the house, and left Providence, crossing the Jamestown Bridge and then the Newport Bridge to Aquidneck. The sun was bold and brilliant (as Colin Meloy might say), and the bay shimmered like chrome. Still a lot of snow, and Green End Pond, along 138, was frozen almost solid. The graveyard in question— Four Corners Cemetery —is located in Middletown, a little north of Newport proper. It's not one of the state's most photogenic cemeteries, not by a long shot, but it plays a pivotal role in the The Drowning Girl. There was a huge crow perched on a headstone when we entered, and Spooky tried to get his photo, but he wouldn't be still. We didn't stay long, as there was a funeral service beginning, a military funeral with a bugler and uniforms and everything, and it would have been poor form to hang about doing ghoulish writing stuff.

After Middletown, we drove down to Spooky's parents' place, though her mom was out running errands and her dad's in Ecuador. We still got to visit Spider Cat and the chickens. There are photos behind the cut:

22 February 2011 )


Back home, we proofed "Andromeda Among the Stones" (for Two Worlds and In Between), which I wrote in 2002, nine years ago, but it's still a personal favorite. Last night, well...there was leftover meatloaf, and then there was a WoW marathon, during which I had Shaharrazad finish off the quests in Un'Goro Crater and then moved along and did all of Dustwallow Marsh, and got Loremaster of Kalimdor. Of course, now I have to do all of Outland to get the Loremaster title (I already have Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, Cataclysm, and Northrend). Nerd, nerd, geek. Later, we read more of White Cat (which we've almost finished).

Congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] blackholly and to Uncle Harlan on the occasion of their Nebula Award nominations!

"Comment!" says Herr Platypus!
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
1) Warmish again today, fifties Fahrenheit, but the cold is about to come round again. At last a good bit of the snow has melted. The sun is bright today. Die, snow. Die.

2) I've decided to delay the "sneak preview" of Lee Moyer's cover-in-progress for Two Worlds and In Between. More people read the blog on Mondays.

3) A good trip out to Conanicut Island yesterday. There was sun, on and off. It was much warmer than our visit on Sunday, and much of the snow had melted away. Jamestown didn't get nearly as much snow as Providence (it's always worse inland), and much of it's gone now. On the way down, I read David Petersen's Legends of the Guard and listened to the new Decemberists CD on the iPod. By the way, if you do not yet know, David Petersen is one of the coolest dudes working in comics today. He's brilliant. Anyway...this time we went directly to West Cove— which I have officially rechristened Shuggoth Cove —to search for beach glass and bones and what-have-you. The tide was very low, but there wasn't much to be found, which is unusual. Spooky found most of the good stuff, including the largest piece of lavender glass we've ever found, and a pale green shard with the number 7 on it. I mostly go for the bones of birds and other things you commonly find washed up at the Cove, but pickings were slim yesterday. My theory is that the hard winter has reduced the quantity of beached bones as hungry non-hibernating critters— coons, weasels, skunks, foxes, coyotes, etc. —haul away every scrap for whatever nourishment it may offer. Speaking of skunks, one made its presence known yesterday, and we gave it a very wide berth.

Bones or no, it was a beautiful day. It was good just to lay on the sand and gravel and hear the waves and see the blue sky. The sky which still seems too wide, but not so carnivorous beside the sea. We saw a gull or two and heard a few crows. I halfheartedly picked up an assortment of shells, including Crepidula fornicata (Common slipper shell), Mytolus edulis (Blue mussels), Modiolus modiolus (Horse mussels), Anomia simplex (jingle shells), Aquipecten irradius (Bay scallop), three species of periwinkle— Littorina littotrea (Common periwinkle), L. saxalis (Rough periwinkle), and L. obtusata (Smooth periwinkle) — along with Thais lapillus (dogwinkles), and two genera of crabs, Cancer irroratus (Rock crab) and Carcinus maenus (Green crab, an invasive species from Britain and northern Europe). We watched enormous freighters crossing Narragansett Bay, headed out to sea, bound for almost anywhere at all. A scuba diver went into the water, and was still under when we left the Cove just before five p.m. (CaST). As always, I didn't want to leave. We made it back to Providence before sunset. On the way home, we saw that the salt marsh was no longer frozen. On the way back, we listened to Sigur Rós, our official going-home-from-the-sea band.

4) Back home, Spooky helped me assemble a three-foot long scale model of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton (thank you, Steven!). It has now taken a teetery place of pride atop a shelf in my office.

5) Last night, Neil called and we talked a long time, about many things, which we used to do a lot, but hardly ever do anymore. We both promised to make more of an effort to stay in touch. Later, well...too much WoW again as I try to wrest Loremaster from the game before my last six weeks (or seven, or so) are up. I finished Winterspring and made it about halfway through Azshara. Spooky played Rift until I thought her eyes would pop out, and it's just beautiful. She's loving it, even with all the inconveniences of a beta (mostly, at this point, server crashes). Still later, we read more of [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's White Cat (which I'm loving).

6) Ebay! Please have a gander. Money is our crinkly green friend (for better or worse).

7) Today we try to make it through the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Tomorrow, with luck, I go back to work on the eighth chapter. I'm trying to obtain permission to quote a Radiohead song ("There, There [The Bony King of Nowhere]") and a PJ Harvey song ("Who Will Love Me Now")* at the beginning of the book, and we've also gotten the ball rolling on that. Amanda Palmer's assistant, Beth Hommel, is putting us in touch with Radiohead's management (thank you, Beth!), but I'm on my own with Harvey. Which ought to be an adventure in red tape.

Now, comment!

There are photos from yesterday:

17 February 2011 )


* Turns out, Harvey didn't write "Who Will Love Me Now." It was co-written by Philip Ridley and Nick Bicat for Ridley's film, The Passion of Darkly Noon, and performed by Harvey. So, now I have to contact Philip Ridley....who also made one of the Best. Vampire. Films. Ever. The Reflecting Skin (still, shamefully, not available on DVD).
greygirlbeast: (blackswan)
On this day, two years ago, I wrote:

Screw this candy-assed Valentine's Day shit. The Romans got it right with Lupercalia. Now, if you want to sacrifice a couple of goats and a dog to Lupa, then run around town naked, save for a bloody thong of goatskin —— that's a goddamn reason to get out of bed. This sugar-coated hearts and flowers crap? Not even a weak echo of a genuine fertility rite. Do it up good and proper, or leave me the hell alone.

The sentiment remains the same, to the letter.

Yesterday was a day off. After not leaving the house for thirteen days, I managed to leave the house. Fuck you, Mistresses Agoraphobia and Social Anxiety. I'm not going to live like that. I'm not going to hide in this room, in my words, while the world goes by. Anyway, yesterday we went out into the filthy winter-bound city. Humans make such a nasty, sad mess of the snow. It was too ugly to stare at very long, so we headed for Conanicut Island. I played Arcade Fire on the iPod and read David Petersen's marvelous Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 while Spooky drove. As soon as we were clear of Providence, the ugly black trash-littered snow was replaced with white snow laying on all the forests and fields, so white and undisturbed it might well have fallen only yesterday. We crossed the Jamestown Bridge, and below us the sea was choppy and the waves whitecapped and precisely the color of slate. The sky was overcast, a blue-lavender hiding the sky (which helps).

We stopped briefly at Zeke's Creek Bait and Tackle and Seafood (which is closed for the season), to survey the frozen saltmarsh.

We continued to Beavertail, where the wind was so fierce it was hard to stand. The temperature was somewhere in the '30s, but I can only imagine what the windchill must have been. On the eastern, windward side of the point, we could only stand to be out of the car for a few minutes at a time. It wouldn't have taken long to get frostbite. It was a little better on the lee shore, and we watched huge crows that might have been ravens, and flocks of seabirds bobbing on the rough water. Then we headed over to West Cove, the beach where we hunt sea glass. It was a bit more sheltered (also a lee shore). Spooky found a few pieces of glass. I found the premaxilla of a cormorant. It was a freezing, bleak day, but the air was clean, and there was a grandeur in the bleakness. That is my world, out there, not in this dreadful room, trapped at the dreadful fucking keyboard. We headed back home about five p.m.

This would be a good day for comments.

There are photos, behind the cut:

13 February 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
That subject line, I was having breakfast and thinking about cyberpunk, about sf and trends and how cyberpunk has been deemed passé, irrelevant, out of fashion by the gatekeepers of science fiction. And that phrase popped into my mind. Maybe there's an sf short story that belongs to it. Maybe. Or it might be the title of my second collection of sf, which will happen someday.* Cyberpunk remains the sort of sf I most enjoy writing, fashion be fucked and damned.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Spooky's put up a PC copy of the lettered, boxed edition of From Weird and Distant Shores (2002). It goes without saying this book is very, very rare. The lettered includes "Rat's Star: A Fragment," a piece not published in the trade edition of the collection (or ever reprinted anywhere else). If we ever offer another of these, it'll be a long while to come.

Yesterday, I began the eighth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and wrote 1,802 words. The chapter begins with a series of excerpts from a telephone answering machine, which says something telling about the structure of the novel, I think. After writing, we proofed "Spindleshanks (New Orleans, 1956)" for Two Worlds and In Between, because I'm behind of the proofreading for that project and racing to catch up.

Unless I leave the house today, it will have been nine days since I was last Outside,

Apparently, when I say, "Blizzard, you've lost me," it means I have to go forthwith and roll a new character and then spend five hours playing her. Last night, we did a little with Shah and Suraa, completeing the Twilight Highlands. And then...I created a Forsaken mage named Erszébetta and Spooky created a Forsaken priest named Tzilla, and the next five hours were a blur of silliness. One of my few favorite things about WoW are those first ten levels. Not sure why, but they're always the most fun. And it's just sad how much easier the starter levels are now compared to when I beagn playing in October 2008. I almost reached Level 11; we went to bed about 4:30 ayem, because there was no one here to tell us we were bad kids and shoo us away to bed. I deleted my dwarf paladin, Dís, to make room on Cenarion Circle for Erszébetta. Sorry, Dís. My heart belongs to Sylvanas.

This evening, after the writing is done, I'll be posting the new "what if I..." question. As before, answers will be screened, which means I'm the only person who will be able to see them. The ones that get reprinted in the digested will be printed anonymously. Which is meant to lower those nasty inhibitions you might be harboring.

*You steal this title, I publicly embarrass you, then kill you. The End.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A very, very bad day yesterday. A day that should have been a Day Off, that, instead, became a Lost Day. I did leave the house, but it went very badly. Probably the worst day since this summer. The sky was too blue, too wide, and whatever it is that slams me did so. Fuck, it sounds silly writing about being freaked out by the sky. I know we live in the confessional, transparent age, and we wear our neuroses and infirmities on our sleeves, but I don't think I'll ever do such things with comfort and without shame.

More snow last night.

Today, I go back to work on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I have to try to get Chapter 5 written by the 24th, so I'll have time to switch over and get the digest written. More and more, I feel as if this will be the last book I write for an "adult" audience. Well, the last book I write for me in hopes that it will be read by an "adult" audience. It would be better, I know, to do the best I am permitted to do with the current novel (deadlines and finances permitting), then switch over to novels for young adults. I know now that I can do it. I've found the voice. And, now that I'm reading a fair amount of YA, I suspect that younger readers are more open readers. I am almost ready to say they seem like smarter readers. I'm starting to think that I would encounter less stress writing YA, which is what matters most here. Less stress without sacrificing income.

I would not wish the life of a working writer on my worst enemy.

Okay, that's a lie. I have a vicious streak, and most certainly would wish the life of a working writer on my worst enemy. It's on the list, right after "festering boils."

A razor-sharp crap-shoot affair...

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions.

You know...I just don't think there's any dignified way to end this entry that doesn't involve getting it over with as soon as possible. So, anything else interesting about yesterday? We had takeout from the Palestinian place— lamb, chicken shawarma, baba ghanoush, and the best baklava I've ever tasted (which is to say the only baklava I've ever actually liked). We streamed an unexpectedly good film, Michael J. Bassett's Deathwatch (2002). The title is a little unfortunate, but so is the cover of The Red Tree. Deathwatch is a weird tale set in the trenches of WWI that succeeds by both subtlety and brute force. Definitely recommended. Later WoW, and Shah and Suraa reached Level 84. Liking Deepholm. It's like what Outland might have been, if Outland had been well designed. Later still, reading. I got to sleep sometime after four ayem.

I have one photo from yesterday's abbreviated outing, Ladd Observatory in the snow:

17 January 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Fucking cold out there. Right now, the mercury's at 21F, and we're only supposed to reach 27F today, with more snow tonight. But I am in New England, and it is January. Which brings me to this, courtesy JaNell Golden, an image which greatly amuses me:



I actually "laughed out loud."

Anyway...

---

No writing yesterday. Just writing-related work. A long and delightful phone conversatin with Lee Moyer regarding the cover design for Two Worlds and In Bewteen. This cover is going to be very, very cool, but I'm keeping it all under wraps for now. The rest of the day was spent on email and talking through the remainder of Part One of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir with Spooky. I might make a few notes, and that's about as close as I ever come to outlines. Notes on index cards. It looks now like Part One ("The Drowning Girl") will be five chapters long, while Part Two ("The Wolf Who Cried Girl") will be six chapters long. With luck, I'll reach the end of Chapter Five (and so the end of Part One) before it's time to start work on Sirenia Digest #62. There was also some research yesterday on the subject of cumulative songs, which are about to become prominent in the novel.

On this day in 1947, the mutilated body of Elizabeth Short, better known as the "Black Dahlia," was found in a vacant lot in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. She was twenty-three years old. The second half of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is, in part, concerned with Short's murder.

---

If you haven't had a look at the current eBay auctions, please take a peek.

The new iPod, which has been named Inara, arrived late yesterday, so a big, big thank you to Steven Lubold for such a generous and useful gift. Having been bereft of an iPod since the trip to Portland, back at the beginning of October, it's nice to be counted among those blessed with portable music once again.

Today was going to be a day off, snowy graveyards, etc., but it's so cold out. I do much better with mid thirties than with mid twenties. So, I don't know. Maybe I'll have an indoors day off. I've done very good this year about getting Outside. Looking back at the first 14 days of the year, I've left the house on 10 of them. Compare that to only having gone out 2 hours in 24 days during a stretch of December and November. My agoraphobia and social anxiety and general laziness can all go fuck themselves; this is a better way to live.

Okay, so I'm going to have a day off. Or work. Or whatever. I do have to go Outside and help Spooky get all the snow and ice off the van, which hasn't been moved since the heavy snow back on Wednesday, so she can go to the market. That seems like a very fucking ambitious plan.

Yours in Inclement Weather,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Today is David Bowie's Birthday. Why the hell isn't this a national holiday. I guarantee you it's an intergalactic holiday. Also, also, also it's Spooky's mom's birthday!

We're having a shit year for snow here in Providence. Even the blizzard hardly touched us. Everyone around us gets hit hard, we get a dusting. Happened again this morning. Spooky says this is normal, that we had much more snow than usual the last two winters, but I say fuck that shit.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,336 words on Chapter Four of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir.

Also, as my office is becoming a hazardous place to work, I boxed up half a filing cabinet's worth of old story files. I've always kept at least one manila folder for each and every short story and vignette I write, all the way back to 1992. Having now written more than 200 stories...well, you get the picture. The cabinet was full, and files have been piling up almost as fast as the books for which I have no remaining shelf space. So, half of the files are going away to our storage unit, where I'll likely never set eyes on them again. Which is a weird thing to know. But, really, what need will I ever again have to look at the file I kept while writing "Tears Seven Times Salt" in 1994? Also, all my pen-and-paper correspondence from 1993 onwards was transferred to a sturdy container. It's all been crammed into an overstuffed old shoebox since forever.

I will see this office organized.

And I also left the house for the fourth consecutive day. Just the bank and the market, but still. Go me.

Last night, I finished reading David L. Meyer and Richard Arnold Davis' A Sea Without Fish: Life in the Ordovician Sea of the Cincinnati Region (2009). And there was more rp in Insilico. Very, very good rp (thank you Blair and Tracy!). I've been hurting for cyberpunk roleplay recently, having gone a while without. Last night, Molly and Grendel acquired a shiny new droid of their very own. Grendel's up to something, though I'm not yet sure exactly what. Hey, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, you should come out and play tonight...

And that's it for now. Coffee's getting cold.
greygirlbeast: (goat girl)
Last night I might have slept close to eight hours, the most I've slept at a stretch in weeks. And I feel much better. All it required was having my Seroquel script refilled. I see my doctor on the 19th, and we're going to talk about Lunesta (Seroquel isn't actually a sleep aid; that's just a fortunate side-effect I've stumbled upon). Probably, it's not couth, or particularly prudent, or even interesting to talk of one's pills online. Probably, I shouldn't do it. Casual excessive disclosure is a dangerous new phenomenon, and I ought know better.

I'm not at all surprised that LJ can't spell couth. The whole concept has likely fled from the world.

The weather is grey and cold, and more snow is on the way.

Yesterday went pretty much as planned. I signed the signature sheets for Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2. With Spooky's help, I made it through the galley pages for "The Collier's Venus (1893)" and sent the corrections off to [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow. There was quite a bit of email.

Spooky figured out how to block all those goddamn idiotic "-ville" game apps in my Facebook account, ending a daily deluge of bullshit.

Today, back to work on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir.

I've left the house three days running. Yesterday, we went by Staples (I needed cardboard file boxes), and the pet shop (cats needed wet food), and the market (dinner), and, finally, the drugstore (chemist really does sound much better). Not an interesting trip Outside, but I'm beginning to understand that if one is to venture Outside on a regular basis, one must also accept that most of those trips will be uninteresting.

Last night, much needed rp in Insilico, Molly and Grendel. And then a little WoW after I took the pill to make me sleepy. Oh, and, in case Blizzard's reading (of course, they aren't), giant cockroaches and giant maggots do not isopods and sea slugs make, respectively.

The current eBay auctions end in a couple of hours, so please have a look. Bid if you are able.

Any thoughts on "—30—"?
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I'd thought today would be a day off. I've not left the house since last Sunday, and I'd planed to go to the shore today. But there are clouds, which there weren't supposed to be.

And inertia reminds me how it would be so much easier to sit in this chair and edit "—30—" than to bundle up and burn the expensive and detrimental hydrocarbons necessary to reach any suitable destination.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,529 words on "—30—", and found THE END. At the moment, the story comes to 6,547 words, which makes this another example of me writing an actual short story for Sirenia Digest, when all I'd meant to write was a vignette. Ironically, given this is a story about a store that sells endings to authors who can't find them, I had trouble yesterday finding THE END. If I don't go out today, I'll likely spend the day dithering with the last few pages of the story (which might be as simple as adding a few additional lines of dialogue). Gods, that's fucking depressing. Sitting here all day, I mean.

Yeah, I know. Lately, I'm back to being Little Miss Sunshine, pissing pink cotton candy and farting double fucking rainbows. This mood will pass. For better or worse, the meds will see that it passes.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, which have just resumed. Money is good. Writers need money. Books are good. Readers need books. Check out the eBay auctions, and we could both come away winners.

I made a veritable mountain of food last night. Someday, I've got to learn how to cook for two people instead of fifteen.

Last night, we watched Tony Scott's The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009), a remake of Joseph Sargent's The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974). I was very pleased with Scott's version. He even manages to get a good performance out of John Travolta, likely his best since Pulp Fiction (1994). And then we finished reading [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's Ironside, which I loved. I only wish there were more to the story. I can console myself by moving along to The White Cat (though I think I'll be reading Kelly Link's Stranger Things Happen first).

I've got to convince myself to leave the house. If not the sea, some other destination. There's an erotic toy shop on Wickenden Street I haven't visited....

Fuck you, clouds.

Addendum (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] opalblack): For the children I will never have: The facts of life. This is brilliant.
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Finally, yesterday, I left the House, and it was a substantial leaving. I had a headache, but I refused to let it keep me inside. After a quick stop at the market and to check the p.o. box, and a stop at the liquor store, we stopped at Wayland Square for coffee and baked goods at The Edge. We walked past Myopic Books and What Cheer Antiques, but didn't go inside. The day was bright and sunny, and though it was cold there was no wind, so it wasn't too terribly unpleasant being out. After coffee, we drove to Benefit Street and parked quite a bit south of the Athenaeum, because I wanted to walk. Most of the Brown and RISD students have gone away for the holidays, and College Hill is wonderfully peaceful.

We spent a couple of hours at the Athenaeum, even though my headache was so bad I couldn't really read. Mostly, I found books I very much wanted to read, and sort of scanned them. There was a paper on Monodon monoceras (the narwhal) in Smithsonian at the Poles: Contributions to International Polar Science Year (2009), on the evolution and morphology of the narwhal's "horn." There was a book on Dogtown, Massachusetts, which intertwined the history of Dogtown with a brutal murder that occurred there in 1984. The was a book on Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and pop culture. But mostly, it was just good to be in the Athenaeum and not at home. And, by the way, if any kind soul would like to gift me with a membership to the Athenaeum, I won't protest. Personally, I think lending privileges ought to be free for local authors teetering on the brink of poverty, but there you go.

Of course, the big news yesterday was that the abominable "don't ask/don't tell" policy was repealed by the Senate. Finally. So, now openly gay men and lesbians are also free to die in the immoral wars America wages across the world. No, I am glad. Truly, and very much so, but it is an odd sort of victory, you must admit.

Last night, some very good, very quiet rp between Molly and Grendel in Insilico. Maybe, someday, all of this will become some sort of short story. Maybe. But probably not. And Spooky and I have reached Level 81.5+ in WoW. By the way, I think the insertion of all sorts of tedious "mini-games" into the new expansion is annoying and dumb as hell, especially that one in Mount Hyjal that's trying to pay homage to the old arcade game Joust. Worst. WoW. Quest. Ever. I wish I could recall the name of the stupid quest, but I can't. I have blotted it from my consciousness.

Today, today is another day off. I may finish a painting, and I may do some housecleaning. Spooky's finishing up a painting. We'll go to the market this evening. On Tuesday, we go to see Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan. And that evening, both [livejournal.com profile] sovay and [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark will be coming down from Boston and Framingham, respectively, so that we can talk over the first three chapters of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Maybe the long period of reclusiveness is ending.

I'll be posting a couple of "Year's Best" lists, but not until the year is actually over, or very almost so.

Anyway...time to wrap this up.
greygirlbeast: (Humanoid)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,728 words on Chapter Two of The Drowning Girl (which may, on it's title page, bear the parenthetical subtitle "Or, The Wolf Who Cried Girl"). What a strange, strange book I'm writing. I don't mean the characters, or the subject matter. Sure, those things are strange. Of course they are. But what I mean is that the nature of the narrative itself is truly very odd. But I'm happy with it, and this is what matters.

I'd love to hear some more feedback today on "The Prayer of Ninety Cats," and thanks to all who've said something already.

Congratulations to Steven Lubold, the high bidder on the Dancy Box, congratulations and thank you. The box went for about three times what I was hoping, so I'm both surprised and pleased.

I did manage to get out of the House yesterday. So, no setting or breaking records for me just now, thank you. The printer was out of ink, and I was almost out of paper, so we went to Staples. I had no idea you could get underwater digital cameras so cheaply. I saw a couple at Staples, and I'm sort of hoping someone gets me one for my next birthday, so I can take photos below the surface of the sea. Anyway, after Staples, we stopped by the market for stuff (noodles, sardines, Tiger Balm patches, milk), then headed home again. Not an exciting excursion, but better than none at all.

We recluses take our jaunts where and when we can.

Of course, yesterday was mostly about WoW, as the expansion went live yesterday. UPS brought mine and Spooky's copies sometime just after 4 p.m. (CaST; and thank you, benefactor), and after the trip Outside, we rolled our goblins and proceeded to play our fool brains out. I rolled a goblin warlock named Hobsprocket, and Spooky rolled a goblin priest named Hobnutter, so we're the Hob sisters. We proceeded to make thirteen levels in eight hours, which is the quickest we've ever leveled toons. But it was a hoot. As [livejournal.com profile] scarletboi said last night, the goblin starting area is a lot like a Disney World ride. Then, once the island of Kezan blows and the goblins flee to the Lost Isles (with a wonderful cinematic in between), the tone shifts. Sort of Final Fantasy meets Super Mario Brothers. But in a good way. And finally, after the battle on the beachhead below the Warchief's Lookout, when we wound up in Orgrimmar again, it just felt like WoW. But eight hours was about four hours too long to play, and I have a bit of an Azeroth hangover today. There are two screencaps behind the cut, taken at Thrall's camp:

Golbinocalypse! )
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.
greygirlbeast: (Jupiter)
Yesterday was a thing I almost never have. Yesterday was a damn near perfect day. A day that sucked in no perceivable way, and was filled with things that were actually good.

I wrote 1,618 words and found THE END of "And the Cloud That Took the Form..." It's a really fine little vignette, which is to say I'm quite happy with it. Alien life in the tropopause of Jupiter and a Fortean occurrence on a back road in eastern Connecticut. Oh, and it quotes a Ben Bova novel, which is something I never thought I'd do. Today, I'll begin the second piece for Sirenia Digest #59. I know it's about masks, and probably about a mask maker. And I should thank [livejournal.com profile] alvyarin for suggesting I do something with masks in #59.

And yesterday I was gifted with Sylvanas Windrunner by kindly readers, which, alone, probably would have been sufficient to make my day.

Here's the link to PodCastle's adaptation of "The Belated Burial," which went live yesterday. I'm considering doing a podcast of my own, once a month, one short piece of fiction a month, free to everyone. But, like most transgendered people, I loathe my voice, so that's something that's always held me back from doing podcasts. The gulf between the way I sound in my head and the way I sound. It's easy for other people to say they like my voice; it's impossible for me to agree. I may post a poll this evening, to gauge interest.

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

---

Last night, we attended the reopening of the transit room at Ladd Observatory, now that the restoration project is complete. Ladd Observatory was opened in 1891, under the direction of Winslow Upton (1853-1914). To quote the Ladd website, "A regular program of transit observations and timekeeping was started in 1893. Prof. Charles Smiley, famous for his observations of solar eclipses, became director of Ladd Observatory in 1938."

Lovecraft aficionados will recall that, as a boy, HPL was given access to the instruments at the observatory (Upton was a family friend, and HPL was a precocious child). As S.T. Joshi records in Lovecraft: A Life (Necronomicon Press, 1996), HPL wrote, "The late Prof. Upton of Brown...gave me the freedom of the college observatory, & I came and went there at will on my bicycle" (this from an essay written in 1934). Between 1903 and 1907, HPL produced an amateur publication (printed on a hectograph), The Rhode Island Journal of Astronomy. This between the ages of 13 and 17; he ceased to visit the observatory shortly after he ceased printing this journal (and there's a long story there, which I'll not go into).

Anyway, last night we were not only able to see the restored transit room. Outside, on the upper observation deck (the roof, essentially), the night was cold and clear. Even through the glare of the waxing gibbous moon and Providence's light pollution, we were given an amazing view of Jupiter and the four Galilean moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. With my own eye, I saw Europa! There was a wonderful symmetry to viewing Jupiter only hours after finishing "And the Cloud That Took the Form..." Plus, I got to see it during one of those rare (and as yet mysterious) periods when the lower primary cloud band isn't visible.

Also, while on the roof, we glimpsed Uranus through a Newtonian reflector telescope. A speck of brilliant white* against the blackness, twenty times farther from Earth than the distance between the Earth and Sun (so, about two billion, nine hundred and ninety million kilometers). We also had an unbelievably sharp view of the moon through the huge 12" refracting telescope (with equatorial mounting and mechanical clock drive, made by George N. Saegmüller of Washington D.C). The towering ridges of impact craters glowed starkly against the lunar horizon, with the basalt plains of lunar maria stretching away in their lee. It was awesome, in the truest, original sense of the word.

There are some photographs, though, obviously, a dark observatory transit room isn't the best place to take digital photos without a flash or tripod:

19 October 2010 )


* Light that would have left Uranus two hours and forty-six minutes (give or take a pile of seconds) before I saw it.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
My adoration of the Banshee Queen, Sylvanas Windrunner, is pretty much legendary. Yes, here I am being the worst sort of dork. The most annoying breed of nerd. But it's true. She's one of the truly cool things about the lore of the World of Warcraft, and finally there's an action figure. And it's on my wish list at Amazon.com, at the very top, and the first person who buys it for me, thereby assuaging my insatiable nerd-lust, will receive a token of my appreciation. I don't know what yet, but I'll think of something. The giver of this gift of this graven image of my Dark Lady will win my eternal gratitude. Yes, I am being shameless. No, I don't care. It's Sylvanas freakin' Windrunner.***

***Update (2:45 p.m.): A kind soul has done the deed, and while I can imagine decorating the house with dozens of idols of Lady Sylvanas, Spooky would likely kill me if I did. So, thank you. Wish fulfilled.

---

Yesterday felt like things were finally getting back on track, writing wise. I did 1,019 words on a new vignette (though it's actually sort of a quasi-vignette, as many of my vignettes are, interweaving several scenes). I'm calling it "...Of the Cloud That Took the Form..." I think I'm going to like it. It has eastern Connecticut and aliens in the Jovian atmosphere. With luck, I might even finish it today. Then I'll need to begin the next piece for Sirenia Digest #59.

My thanks for all the suggestions yesterday. More are always welcome.

I also had to answer a few questions from the CE who's copyediting "The Maltese Unicorn," which will be appearing in Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir anthology. And Ellen tells me that Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy will be out before very much longer. It includes my story "The Collier's Venus (1893)."

And here are ten photographs from our drive through southeastern Massachusetts on Sunday. They include the World's Cutest Jumping Spider EVER. We may try another leaf-watching drive (hopefully with better results) this coming weekend, some place farther north:

17 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Sitting here doing some rather grim math. And I see that in the last twenty-nine days, all of August, I've left the House only four times. On the the second, the tenth, the sixteenth, and the twenty-fourth. I'm not sure I should actually count the twenty-fourth, given that was a doctor's appointment. Even by my standards, looking back and realizing that I've let things get this bad is more than a little disturbing. We'd planned to leave the House today...except I was sick last night, and...

I didn't find THE END of "Fairy Tale of the Maritime" yesterday. I wrote less than eight hundred words, was probably working on the final paragraph, and began to have serious doubts about how I was wrapping it up. So, I stopped, hoping I'd come back today with a clearer understanding of what's going on. But no such clearer understanding has presented itself to me. But I've got to finish it, either today or tomorrow, because I have to get Sirenia Digest #57 out.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I realized over breakfast (coffee and ramen with broccoli), that I've not left the House since we went to East Beach on Tuesday. I can surely count on one hand the number of days in August and the second half of July I've gone Outside. And if that's not precisely true. It sure as hell feels that way. I have no idea why I've gotten this bad again. The meds have my seizures under control. The depression is in check. The weather's mostly been cooler. I just forget to leave the House. Yet when I do, I'm usually glad I did. This whole thing confounds me.

Yesterday was spent getting through an enormous mountain of email, pertaining to everything from the "Best of" project to "The Maltese Unicorn" to Sirenia Digest #57. I may have finalized the table of contents for the "Best of" volume. If so, there are twenty-nine stories (well, twenty-eight and a poem), including a novella, The Dry Salvages. The word count comes in at ~220 thousand words. For an idea of how big a book that will be, The Ammonite Violin and Others is only about 80k words. Certainly, it's by far the longest book I've ever done.

One of the more difficult aspects of this, so far, beyond simply choosing the stories, has involved dating the older stories, those from the nineties. Back then, I wasn't so good at keeping records. When you've only written maybe a dozen short stories, it's easy to recall precisely when you wrote each one. But many, many years later, when you've done over two hundred short stories, those memories fade to the point of invisibility. Much of yesterday was spent trying to date "Tears Seven Times Salt" and "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun." I genuinely thought that the former had been written late in 1995, maybe in December of that year. But searching through old correspondence (at least I have that), I discovered, no, it was, in fact, written in the summer of 1994, late in June or very early in July. It was the first story I wrote after "To This Water (Johnstown, Pennsylvania 1889)," and the third story I wrote after moving from Birmingham to Athens. So, my memories were off by almost a year and a half. As for "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun," I'm still trying to date it. I thought it was written in 1995, but it's beginning to look as though it was actually written during the first half of 1996.

Oh, by the way, while I chose "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun (Murder Ballad No. 1)" over "Lafayette (Murder Ballad No. 2)," both "Spindleshanks (New Orleans, 1956)" and "The Road of Pins" made the cut.

I have tried to select at least one story for every year between 1993 and 2007, but it's starting to look as if there won't be a 1995 story. Which, given the wretchedness of that year, might be just as well.

As for a title, I've been trying for days to think of one. I certainly am not going with nothing but The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan: Volume One. Then last night, Spooky and Bill Schafer both made the same suggestion, independently, which still has me a little freaked out. Both have suggested I call the book Two Worlds and In Between (a line from the Sisters of Mercy's "Lucretia My Reflection"). The book does happen to contain my zombie story "Two Worlds, and In Between." And maybe this should be the book's title, if only by dint of the peculiar coincidence of two people suggesting that same title on the same night. Also, the title is not inappropriate, having more than a single relevant interpretation relative to the book and my work in general. So, maybe, Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, Volume One.

I'll post the table of contents tomorrow.

---

We began two new auctions yesterday. Both are a bit special. The first is the auction of the first painting I have ever offered for sale, Study 1 for Yellow. The second is for a lettered copy of Tales from the Woeful Platypus (you can choose from M, R, or Z), which comes with a hand-made Beanie platypus (made by Spooky). Please have a look. Thanks.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
It would seem I shut Sméagol in my office at about four-thirty a.m.. The insomnia's come back, and I was up alone, playing WoW, and apparently he crept quietly into the office without me noticing. But he's fine, and the office is fine, so no harm done. No apparent kitty trauma.

Very hot here in Providence again, and I think I'm going to get just a little work done, and then we'll head south to the shore. I've not left the House since last Monday (a full week inside), and my ankle's much better, so...yeah. Time to go Outside.

Most of yesterday was spent working on the table of contents for the "Best of" volume. I read over several stories. "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent" didn't make the cut, but "Stoker's Mistress" did (though I'm removing all evidence it was originally written for a "Vampire: The Masquerade" anthology). I decided I'm only including one story from the Dandridge Cycle, so I cut "Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea (1957)" and "A Redress for Andromeda." I'll be using "Andromeda Among the Stones," the best (and longest) of the three tales. But I got hung up on whether to use "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun (Murder Ballad No. 1)" or "Lafayette (Murder Ballad No. 2)." And "The Road of Pins" or "Spindleshanks (New Orleans, 1956)." Hence, last evening's poll. The results are interesting, and will definitely be factored into my final decision. If you have an opinion and have not yet voted, please do. I am having some weird trouble determining precisely when some of the earlier stories were written, those from the nineties, before I began dating the hell out of everything, but we'll sort that out. With any luck, I'll be able to post a preliminary ToC sometime in the next couple of days.

It's strange. This feels like I'm editing an anthology, not compiling a collection of my own work.

Last night, after egg salad for dinner, we watched three or four more episodes from Season Three of Nip/Tuck. It's kind of fascinating how pretty much everyone in the show but Christian has turned into a total douchebag. I spent a sizable chunk of the evening on rp in Insilico. It was good rp, not like that mealy stuff you get at Wal-Mart for $4.99 (plus tax). It's weird to be so immersed in that world again, but, for now, it's a good weird. And that was yesterday.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The weather here in Providence is quite nice today, proving how it's all about the humidity. Outside, the temperature is 83F, with a forecast high of 88F. But the humidity is only 36%, and the House is quite comfortable.

Not a good writing day yesterday. Terribly, terribly frustrating. Five hours yielded only letter E for "The Yellow Alphabet." This time out, E is for Europa, by the way. I think the word count was a measly 176 words.

The current eBay auctions end tomorrow. There's some stuff we haven't offered very often, like the "Highway 97" and "Black Alphabet" chapbooks. Thanks.

I'm taking today off. I need to get my head clear, and then come back to it tomorrow. I've not really left the House since Thursday night. No, that's not healthy.

Last night, we watched Floria Sigismondi's The Runaways, which is really very good, as I'd hoped it would be.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A wonderful morning here in Providence. Only 81F outside, and there's a cool breeze getting in through the open window by my desk. The humidity has dropped from 94% last night to a mere 48%.

As I said last night, I did 1,060 words on Chapter One of the Next New Novel yesterday. Unsure how much I'll get written today, or if I'll manage to get anything written today, as I have dinner with S.T. Joshi and friends at six p.m. I am desperately trying to find the end of Chapter One before Monday (July 26th), when I have to set the book aside and get to work on "The Yellow Alphabet" for Sirenia Digest #56.

Speaking of the digest, I am pleased to announce that it now has its own website, thanks to my new web guru (or web goblin, if you prefer), Karina Melendez. She designed and maintains the Lambda Literary website, and she's also manages the Wizard's Tower Press website. Oh, here's a link to the new Sirenia Digest site, though it's not yet even close to finished. So please don't try to order anything. You will also note that the site is in English and Spanish. Karina's native language is Spanish, and I'm currently working with her on a rather ambitious plan to translate all the back issues. Ultimately, we hope to use the new website to offer each back issue in both languages. Details TBA, and thank you Karina.

More on the Best of volume from Subterranean Press that I announced last night. I have begun trying to compile a preliminary table of contents, and I'm realizing this is going to be quite a bit more difficult than I'd first realized. As in "Argh." Even though I have 200k words to work with, which means a book somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 pages.
I have decided that, for the most part, I'll not be including work from Sirenia Digest, since a lot of those stories are destined to appear in followup volumes to The Ammonite Violin & Others (and, obviously, none of the stories collected in The Ammonite Violin & Others will be included). So, with a few exceptions, we're talking about 1994-2005. But eleven years of publishing is only a little easier to navigate than sixteen years of publishing.

Last night, I finally saw Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island, and wow. It's almost as grand a mindfuck as Inception. A beautifully made and deeply disturbing film. It is haunting in the truest sense of the word. And I think Leonardo DiCaprio is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. He's come a long, long way from Critters 3 (1991).

And now...I need to try to get some work done.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So...Sunday we went to Boston. This was the trip to Boston that had been delayed since May 26th, the delayed birthday trip to Boston. Simple plan. Spend a few hours at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, then meet up with Greer ([livejournal.com profile] nineweaving), Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay), Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark), and Chris for Thai food at 9 Tastes. It started off...well, not perfect, but okay. We got to Boston a little late (and there was an emergency pee stop at MIT, which is a pretty cool place to have an emergency pee stop), but mostly things were fine. At the Museum, Spooky sketched birds and mammals, and I sketched and photographed Permian fish, sharks, amphibians, reptiles, and synapsids.

We left the Museum just before five (closing time), and headed back to the van to find a parking place nearer the restaurant (we were parked on Wendell Street for the MCZ). We found a spot on Holyoke Street (not easy, because the place was crawling in people, despite the crappy weather). And that's when I had the first seizure I've had in more than a month, and the worst one I've had in several months. And, before it was over, I'd smacked my head hard on the plastic seat-belt hanger thing. Which was the end of the second attempt at the Boston birthday gathering. Spooky called everyone she could get on the phone and canceled dinner. And I'm drawing this stupid, sorry tale out more than I'd meant to. We drove back to Providence, and I didn't go to the ER, because I couldn't possibly have afforded it. I went home and rested, fairly certain I probably didn't have a concussion, just a sore skull and a goose egg. And the usual post-seizure yuckiness.

And that was Saturday.

I spent most of yesterday in bed, still weak and recuperating. But I am a lousy convalescent, and I got bored about noon, and spent the next seven or eight hours editing "The Maltese Unicorn," and rewriting parts of it, and adding to it, and tweaking it, and whatnot. I finally stopped sometime after eight o'clock, and Spooky made me have some dinner.

Anyway. For now I'm taking it as easy as I can and still get the work done that needs doing. I'm seeing my doctor on Thursday. I'll be sending "The Maltese Unicorn" off to the anthology's editor today, after a very few last minute nips and tucks.

Oh, and the weather finally improved, which has helped my mood a bit.

---

Thanks to Bill Schafer at subpress for sending me the Publisher's Weekly review of The Ammonite Violin & Others. I'm very pleased with it:

The 20 short, dark tales in Kiernan's third fantastical erotica collection (after Tales from the Woeful Platypus*) are marked by obsessive, often self-destructive behavior; haunting, generally prophetic dreams; and beautiful prose. In the title story, an aging serial killer invites a young violinist to his isolated home on the anniversary of his murder of her cellist sister. In "The Hole with a Girl in Its Heart," an unhappy man makes a deal with a young woman who possesses a freakish understanding of quantum mechanics. In "Bridle," an equally unhappy woman begins to have unnerving dreams about a kelpie trapped in a small pond near her home. In "Ode to Edvard Munch," a man relates his long-term love affair with an urban vampire. These very adult stories will prove deeply pleasing to aficionados of literate, sexually tinged fantasy fiction.

So...that's three for three. Good reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Publisher's Weekly, for a book of very, very peculiar stories. Better hurry up and order if you want a copy.

And now, I need to lie down again for a bit. Spooky took these two photos yesterday of me editing from the sick bed:

Bed Editing )


* Strictly speaking, this isn't true. The Ammonite Violin & Others isn't the planned third volume after Frog Toes and Tentacles and Tales from the Woeful Platypus, but a) it's starting to look as though I might never get around to doing that book, and b) there is a strong erotic element to this book, so I can see where confusion originated.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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