greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
1. I slept almost eight hours. Sure, I had to take half a Seroquel (which would be 12.5 mg) to get to sleep, but then at least I did sleep. I hate how I've become dependent on sleep aids again. And pills like Seroquel that aren't actually sleep aids, but allow me to sleep. I'm still very tired, but at least I know my body rested.

2. Very cold today. Presently 17˚F, with the windchill at 6˚. The still white world. Which is to say the world that is both white and still.

3. Yesterday, I made that big push to find the bottom of Chapter 4 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I wrote 2,515 words, and I did indeed reach it. But by the time I did, I felt as if I'd kicked my own teeth out. The manuscript is presently 218 pages long, which amounts to 48,218 words. I got a bit angry yesterday, I will admit, that it took me two years to work this novel out in my head, and now I'm having to rush to get it written in only a few months. Clearly, I'm putting the cart before the horse (that would be sarcasm). When I was done writing yesterday, Spooky read all of 4 to me aloud. And it works. But it's not what people will expect.

It's not what many people expect from me, and, sadly, it's not something most people will expect from a novel. And the prose is very simple, direct, not quite (but almost) stripped down. Surely, I have long since demonstrated my ability to write lush, lyrical prose to any reasonable person's satisfaction. And now I'm trying to do something else.

4. Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, because this whole "shit costs money" thing isn't going away any time soon.

5. I very almost apologized, just now, for sounding so glum and pissy. Which is funny, and which should serve as evidence of changes wrought by the meds since April.

6. Last night, after so much work, I was too tired to sit up straight, so naturally we played WoW. The instruments of time displacement may destroy me yet. We descended into the Maelstrom, literally. And I gotta say, Deepholm is beautifully designed and, so far, I love the quests. It's quickly making up for the sad mess that was Vashj'ir.

7. Just this second, I came very near to sitting on Hubero's head and killing him. No, by accident. So, I'm going to take that as a sign it's time to wrap this up.

Yours in Simmering Disbelief,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (new newest chi)
1) I slept eight hours, and I'm still not exactly what passes for awake.

2) We've laid in supplies. The snow is coming. It should arrive around midnight tonight. Heavy, heavy snow. If I were still in Birmingham or Atlanta, this sort of snow would spell the beginning of a week or two of havoc. Here, we may be unable to leave the house for one day, maybe. By "leave the house," I only mean get the car out of the driveway.

3) Yesterday, I wrote 1,142 words on Chapter 4 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm starting to suspect I'll finish the chapter on Thursday. I'm on manuscript page 162. But, even as I begin this seemingly marvelous progress, the insecurity mounts. The fear that I'm not even half smart enough to write this book, and that there's no audience who wants to read a novel of this sort. I have begun heavily second guessing the reader.

Fuck the so-called wisdom of writing workshops, of instructors, and fuck all that shit about reader/writer contracts. This sort of anxiety is poisonous to good fiction. One does not write for an audience, unless one only wishes to pander. One writes. The worth of a novel is not determined by the opinions of those who read it, collected and averaged to yield an objective rating that may be expressed in stars given and stars withehld. It's all a lonely mess. The book's "worth" lies in the mind of the author, and in the mind of each reader. Each is alone with the book, and everyone who reads it is subject to their own unique experience. Nothing is generally true. That said, I sit and try to just let Imp speak and tell her story, but I begin to hear the complaints to come. The shitty Amazon and blog "reviews" it may receive in 2012. These things shouldn't occur to me, and certainly they shouldn't give me a moment's pause, but they do. "It takes forever before anything actually happens." "It's slow." "It rambles." And so on and on and on and so forth.

4) Yesterday, after the writing, we had to go to our storage unit in Pawtucket. Outside, the world was bitter cold, scabby, too sharp around the edges. Anyway, we needed to drop off those files I mentioned having boxed up back on the 7th. That was the easy part. I also needed to find the missing files for The Dry Salvages, which I'm revising a bit before it's reprinted in Two Worlds and In Between. The files weren't in my cabinet, or anywhere in my office, or in the house. So, it stood to reason, we'd find them in the storage unit, where most of my old manuscripts and notes are kept. Nope. They may be there, but we didn't find them. Which is going to make revising The Dry Salvages much more difficult. I'll say more on this later.

It was depressing, seeing all my paleo' stuff, my Lane cabinet and all the rest. Things that have been in storage since August 2001, when I only thought I was briefly putting my paleo' work on hold.

5) Few things are so capable of filling me with despair as the paperback rack at the market. Who actually reads this crap? I mean, clearly lots and lots and lots of people do, because every one of those books has some bestselling pedigree slapped across its foil embossed cover. These are the forgettable books that everyone reads. Maybe not me, or you, or you, but everyone else. They all seem to amount to little but a combination of fourth-grade reading-level prose and woozy melodrama with bland, idealized characters. They are not meant to be good books. They are meant to be easy reads. Good reads (a phrase I loathe, a dismissive, backhanded slap of a compliment). They are meant to be consumed and then disposed of, like all the best products of this society. I know the money would be heavenly, but I don't think I could sleep at night. Okay, touché. I already have trouble sleeping.

6) I'm starting to think I'm sitting in a great empty room, talking to myself, listening to my hollow voice echoing off the silver walls.

7) Last night we watched Michael Winterbottom's excellent The Killer Inside Me (2010; based on Jim Thompson's 1952 novel). A few lapses in logic aside, I liked it quite a lot (and the lapses are only problematic if we assume the characters are especially bright people, and mostly they don't appear to be). Western noir set in the 1950s. It felt a lot like what you might get if the Coen Bros. and David Lynch made a film together. As usual, Winterbottom doesn't pull his punches, and so the brutality and loss rings true. Casey Affleck delivers a chilling performance as a small-town sociopath who also happens to be a deputy sheriff. Highly recommended.

8) I ordered my new iPod Classic yesterday. My thanks to Steven Lubold, who made it possible for me to get a new iPod. I've been trying to decide what I'll name it. My first iPod (the one from 2005 that recently died) was Moya. This one may be Inara. I always name my computers. Anyway, right now I see it's in Shanghai, because, you know, that makes sense. My iPod and the ramen I had for breakfast have traveled more than I ever will.

9) Last night, Shaharrazad reached Level 83.

And that's more than enough for now.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Yesterday I didn't leave the house. The weather was crappy, and I was writing, and then the weather got worse. Maybe this evening. Right now, there's snow on the ground, but the roads are clear. I need the snow. As I've said, it smooths the ugly sharp edges from the bleak urban winter landscape.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,670 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. My goal is to write chapters 4, 5, and 6 this month. Yesterday, I reached ms. page 150. Or 32,206 words. This novel will be only as long as it needs to be. I might be a third of the way through it, or half, or only an eighth. We shall see.

I will be including Chapter 1 in Sirenia Digest #63 (February 2011).

I took a nap in the middle parlour before dinner. Then, this morning I slept more than seven and a half hours. The Seroquel conquers the insomnia, but it's nothing I want to take long term.

Last night, I read the first story in Jacques Tardi's The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec, 1976), "Pterror Over Paris." Utterly delightful. And it set me to wondering why the hell Luc Besson's adaptation of the comic hasn't yet been released in the US. It premiered in France on April 14th, 2010, and has shown in oodles of countries, but not the US. Anyway, I also watched Herbert G. Ponting's 90° South, a film documenting Scott's second Antarctic expedition (1911). The film has a long and complex history, having begun as a series of silent shorts that eventually became a narrated feature in 1933. Later this year, I'm supposed to write a prequel to Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness," and I've begun the research.

And there was rp in Insilico last night, and will be again tonight.

That's all for now.

Yours in January,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I think I slept about seven hours. It's been a while since I slept that long at a stretch. Pills were required, and I'm still a bit groggy. But Spooky says I look better than I did yesterday, so I suppose that's something.

I started smoking again yesterday. That might last for a month. Spooky is not happy with me.

Yesterday was spent on Two Worlds and In Between, editing, getting files ready for [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, because he and [livejournal.com profile] sovay have agreed to lend me a hand with this monstrous task (and I am enormously grateful).

Geoffrey arrived about seven p.m. (CaST). We got takeout from a Palestinian place nearby. Really, really good food. The best baba ghanoush I've ever had. And then there was talk and talk and talk. He headed back to Framingham about 3 ayem (CaST).

Today, I need to proofread the galley pages for "The Collier's Venus (1893)," for [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow's forthcoming anthology, Naked City. And I need to sign the signature pages for Subterranean Press' forthcoming anthology, Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2 (which includes my sf story, "Hydrarguros").

Tomorrow, I go back to work on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir.
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: (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: (Illyria)
No, really. And I blame you, Holly Black.

Speaking of whom, a great quote from her short story, "Virgin," for all the New Age airy-fairy twits who somehow have it in their head that fairies are all about the "positive healing energy":

"Let me tell you something about unicorns— They're fairies and fairies aren't to be trusted. Read your storybooks. But maybe you can't get past the rainbows and pastel crap. That's your problem."

---

And here's something nifty. "Your Age on Other Worlds." Not sure which I take more comfort from, that on Mars I'm 24.7 years old or that on Jupiter I'm 41,479.3 years old.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 2,035 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And made it through a scene I'd been dreading. With luck, I'll finish Chapter Three this afternoon. This is such a very different book for me, vastly different from everything before The Red Tree, but different, also, from The Red Tree. It might almost be YA. It's the nearest I've ever come to my Shirley Jackson roots, and quite a bit distant from the influence of Lovecraft.

As for the rest of yesterday, there was more Miéville and Susanna Clarke, and at bedtime, we read two stories by [livejournal.com profile] blackholly, "Virgin" (quoted above) and "In Vodka Veritas." Both delightful.

---

I'm sleeping somewhat better, now that I'm taking the Lamictal at noon instead of midnight. Not great, but better.

--

Because my terrifying nerdiness knows no decent bounds, last night Shaharrazad (my blood-elf warlock), earned the title, "the Seeker" in WoW. Which means I've done 3,000 quests. Which took a total of (in game play) 49 days, 19 hours.

---

After dinner last night, I had a grim talk with Spooky about the current state of my career, and my life, in general. Sometimes, we must have grim talks, if only to keep us honest.

It's time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Very, very cold here in Providence (25F, feels like 14F) with an overcast sky.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,858 words on Chapter Three (3) of The Drowning Girl. As it stands, I'm 20,970 words into the manuscript, which means I'm probably somewhere between one third and one quarter of my way to THE END, if upon this book's completion it's going to look like I think it will— which, of course, it might not.

And I got some work done for Two Worlds And In Between.

And then we had Spooky's "Five Legged Stew" for dinner, and watched Michael Winterbottom's Jude (1996). It's a breathtaking, devastating film. But, then, I've always had a thing for Thomas Hardy. And, of course, the casting of Christopher Eccleston in the title role doesn't hurt.

Yesterday morning, there was the beginning of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and just before dinner, more of China Miéville's The Kraken (a book I desperately wish I'd written, but, if I had, it would have had none of The Kraken's wonderful humour).

There was a little WoW. I meant to mention yesterday another thing about the Cataclysm expansion that has disappointed me. Silvermoon, the Eversong Woods, and Tranquillien seem to be stuck back at the Burning Crusade expansion. Near as I can tell, time's standing still there, and no one's even heard of all the late unpleasantness with Arthas, much less the sundering of the world by that pesky Neltharion. I suspect the same may be true of the Draenei starting area...and I think I even see why, but it seems a shame, when almost all the world has been revamped and updated, Silvermoon is still mired where it is.

I've slipped back into the Insilico rp the last couple of nights. Part of me needs it, but I'm not yet sure I have the requisite energy to sustain it, what with so much writing to be done. I don't think of rp as writing, not exactly. It's more what I've called improvisational theatre, but it requires much of the same talents and can make you weary pretty much the same way, if you're doing it right. SL isn't any better than it ever was, a technological marvel that will never realize one tenth its true potential. But as long as I interact with a very small number of people (right now, only two others), I can ignore the rabble. The white noise. The goofiness. Grendel's still pregnant (three months now). Molly's going back to work for the Big Bad. Et cetera. Our little cyberpunk soap opera.

Before sleep, Spooky read to me from Angela Carter. I'm sleeping a little better. No sleeping pills for three nights now.
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)
This will probably come out all higgledy-piggeldy. this journal entry. But I will persevere, nonetheless. Any day that begins by reading a report of new fossils of the Early Miocene-aged bird Pelagornis chilensis, confirming that it had a wingspan of 5.2 meters (about 17 feet), can't be all bad. That's a wingspan roughly double that of an albatross.

And yesterday was a good writing day, thanks to having slept. I hear people who seem to boast about their insomnia. "Oh, hell. I haven't slept since 1979!" You know, like it's a point of pride. Maybe they're just scrabbling for a silver lining, but it never feels that way to me. Anyway, I did 1,319 words on my piece for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. I should finish it today. It doesn't really have a title yet, but concerns a very grim artifact known to some as the "Castleblakeney Key," and it's written entirely in excerpts from letters, scientific and other academic journals, books, and the like. I think I like it a great deal. It's just been a bitch to write. Not sleeping hasn't helped.

I've decided that the trip to Manhattan needs to be postponed until after the HPLFF. So, early or mid October. I spoke with my agent yesterday. Now I need to get in touch with Peter, and with my editor at Penguin.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, if you've not already. Some of the auctions end tomorrow. Also, Spooky has begun making Halloween decorations, so you may want to have a look at her Dreaming Squid Dollworks & Sundries shop at Etsy.

---

When I was in my late twenties and still living in Birmingham, I ran in certain circles. Circles within circles, for that matter. High society for Southern drag queen débutantes and grande dames, a coterie of queer druggies and hustlers and bartenders. Lesbian bouncers and pool sharks. The day began at sunset and ended at dawn (so winters were preferred). It was another time and another place. It was vile, and it was degrading, and it was beautiful. I find I am capable of being both nostalgic for those circles, and grateful I lived through it all. Many of my friends didn't. They died of one or another of the inevitable hazards of being part of those circles. We all thought we would live forever, and we thought that world would last forever.

There was a man who went by the name of Rocky. I have no idea what his real name was, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't Rocky. I thought he was handsome as hell, and I had a crush on him. He wore leather bomber jackets and styled his hair in a pompadour. He drove these antique Mercedes-Benzes, so I imagined he was wealthy. Turns out he wasn't. He was a chauffeur and a heroin dealer. But I still had a crush on him.

Our paths finally crossed one night, because someone told someone who ran with Rocky that I had a crush on him, and I suppose it amused him. I won't be so arrogant as to imagine it flattered him. So, that night, he drove me around the Southside of Birmingham in one of those beautiful old cars. I was wearing this ridiculous, tattered wedding dress I'd found in a thrift store called Memory Lane. After the drive, we went back to his apartment, and I shot heroin for the first time. It was also the last time, because it was so good, so utterly better-than-sex good, that I knew if I ever did it again, I'd wind up addicted. And I was already on pills and booze. Anyway, I threw up, which wasn't very ladylike, but Rocky was cool about the whole thing. I sat in the same chair for hours, numb and thrumming and staring at the city lights, flying on that dose of smack. Rocky was a gentleman. I can't remember a single goddamn thing we talked about.

I have all these memories in my head, and I think I want to start writing them down. All these people and places that I've hinted at in my books, that I've fictionalized, But at forty-six, I begin to feel the tug of mortality, and I think of those memories being lost forever. I think of what Roy says at the end of Blade Runner, just before he releases the dove: I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the darkness at Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain.

Yeah, sounds pretty sappy. But still. I think I'm going to start writing those things down here, from time to time. I hope I don't embarrass my mother too much. Though, it's hard to imagine that's even still possible these days.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Well, at least I slept. Something like eight hours. Oh, and there was a short nap yesterday, while Spooky made dinner.

The weather's turned cooler. Highs in the low 70sF. Lows in the mid 50sF. I do not think I have ever before in all my life been this eager for autumn. The summer was that bad.

Yesterday, I wrote a somewhat measly 573 words, though several hours were required to write them. My piece for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, it's one of those things I've been looking at for months, and thinking, Oh, that will be easy and fun. I can save it for the last minute and it'll still be a breeze. And by now I ought know better. Those are the pieces that always decide they're going to be hard, instead.

There was research on numerous peculiar and varied subjects yesterday: bog mummies, Castleblakeney (Ireland), skeleton keys, both New and Old World monkeys, and the Iron Age in Northern Europe.

I accidentally wrote millimeters every time I meant to write centimeters.

It was just that sort of a day.

After dinner, there was WoW (Spooky and I are trying to get the "Loremaster of Kalimdor" achievement, which mostly means going back and doing all the tedious fucking goblin quests we skipped the first time, to gain a total of 685 quests completed in Kalimdor). I also did some Insilico. We read more of Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl.

And now I go forth to grope the fetlocks of a new day.
greygirlbeast: (white)
We're keeping a weather eye on Hurricane Earl. At least it's been downgraded to a Level 3. We're right at the edge of a "red zone" (high threat) and soundly in the yellow ("medium threat"). But we're on high ground, above the area that would have to be evacuated if worse came to worse. And the flood gates are strong. We should see the storm on Friday.

Meanwhile, the worst heat of the summer seems to have come yesterday, on the last day of summer (I have always considered August 31st the last day of summer). In the House, the temperature reached 91F. We left, though the heat index outside was something like 97F. We drove to Warwick, and then across the Western Passage and out to Conanicut Island and Beavertail Point. I'd hoped there would be enough of a breeze at Beavertail to offset the heat. But it was still early in the day when we arrived (maybe four p.m.), and there was hardly any breeze at all. The sun seemed to rob everything of color. It was like a hammer, that sun. And, somehow, my heart just wasn't in it, this visit to the sea. I can't recall that ever before having been the case.

We stopped for a little while on the western side of the island. We watched two herring gulls using strands of seaweed to "fish" for crabs. The sea looked wrong. The tide was going out, but the rip currents were strong enough to see. The bay seemed calm, almost flat, but seethed near the rocks in a way I have never seen it move before. It almost seemed to boil, and the whole scene (coupled with the heat and the light) felt somewhat surreal. The coves, where the water is usually crystal clear, were murky with silt and organic detritus. I'm assuming these are all early affects of the hurricane. I know the rip tides are.

We moved on to the lighthouse at the point. More weirdness. In my experience, the waves at the point rush in from the southwest, moving northwest. Yesterday, they were coming from the east, moving west. We sat near the base of the old lighthouse (destroyed by fire on July 22, 1753) for a time, watching the strange waves and getting too much sun. Then we retreated into the tiny "aquarium" inside the current lighthouse (built in 1856). It was much cooler inside, in the dark, lit mainly by the lights inside the tanks. We watched a pool of small shark, spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias). There were various other local fish, including Northern puffer fish (Sphoeroides maculatus), and couple of sea robins (Prionotus carolinus), along with various invertebrates— urchins, starfish, horseshoe crabs, et cetera. There was the carapace of huge rare "blue lobster" (not a different species, just a rare morph). Back outside, we sat for a while in the shade of the lighthouse, pretty much the only shade there was to be had.

About five, we gave up and headed back to Providence.

There are photos, behind the cut:

31 August 2010 )


---

Last night, we watched the second film in the Red Riding trilogy, In the Year of Our Lord 1980, this one directed by James Marsh. It wasn't as brilliant as the first film, but still very good. Later, there was WoW. We belatedly began the "Keepers of Time" quests. The "Old Hillsbrad" quest, saving the young Thrall from dragons trying to change the course of history, was really a lot of fun (despite having to be disguised as a human). I read the first few pages of Louis Chiappe's Glorified Dinosaurs: The Origin and Early Evolution of Birds, which came as part of a very wonderful literary care package from Steven Lubold (thank you!). I think I got to sleep a little after four ayem, and, amazingly, slept about eight hours, with the aid of no pills whatsoever.

And that was yesterday.

Today, I have to attend to some email, then get Sirenia Digest #57 laid out and PDF'd. I'll do my best to get it to subscribers by this evening (but it might be early tomorrow). Spooky and I are holed up in my office with Dr. Muñoz the Coolerator, and hopefully we won't melt. It's going to be another scorcher today.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Two nights (well, mornings) in a row now, I've slept more than eight hours. Amazing.

Yesterday was, in large part, given over to email and other bits of business related to the "Best of" volume. I think that tomorrow I will most likely be posting a table of contents. There are only a couple of details left to be ironed out. Regarding the art section in the lettered and/or numbered state, I'm very pleased to report that both Richard Kirk and Vince Locke are on board. I still have several other artists to speak with, but Rick and Vince are the heart of that part of the book.

I did get some writing done yesterday. I wrote a new poem, "Atlantis," which will go out to those people who so kindly donated to help me get Spooky's birthday present this year. Each will get the poem, on a good paper stock, numbered and signed. I sent the poem to [livejournal.com profile] sovay and [livejournal.com profile] nineweaving, and their reactions were heartening. It's good to write something that I can see is good. That might sound odd, but it doesn't happen as often as you might think.

Plans have been finalized for my appearance at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon this year (October 1-3) in Portland, Oregon. I may also arrange an offsite book signing. So, if you're one of the many Portland people who've been asking me to make an appearance in that area, you got your wish, and I hope to see you.

---

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] wolven posted this about "Sanderlings," and I want to repost it:

Thank you for this story; it keeps unfolding, in my mind. Particularly The Boy on the beach. Watching the transition, watching The End, Clara's only interaction with the "Outside World;" and, throughout their interaction, after the light in the room, I kept hearing the line "whatever it is that Sanderlings eat." The colour, the Life leeching simultaneously into and out of Mary.

But always the boy. Always his civil, pitying response. The Recording "Angel" holding vigil over all that Clara has lost the ability to appreciate, in her choosing to not see the terrible things. This vigil feels like... an inventory, or a survey, or an engaging and deep meaningful rumination on that which will soon be passed on to him. There's no malice, there. Just an inevitability and a weight.

As the only perspective external to the house, it is... arresting.


Oh, and I came across this thoughtful, articulate, respectful, and utterly wrongheaded review of The Red Tree.

---

Last night, we watched the last two episodes of Season Three of Nip/Tuck. It was a good finalé, but not nearly as powerful as the end of Season Two, which was one of the best hours of television I've ever seen.

I also got in some very excellent rp in Insilico. After failing an empathy test, Xiang 1.5 has managed to elude capture by IPS officers by signing on with a salvage ship called Beowulf. IPS jurisdiction doesn't extend to ships in orbit. The captain obtained, through highly questionable means, a new shell for Xiang, a chassis that's mostly organic, all blood and bone and muscle, and her positronic matrix was transplanted. The process was successful. Her ident chip was replaced and her AI completely shielded. She can finally pass for human. She's signed on as security with the Beowulf, assuming the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer and a new name, Grendel Ishmene (her choice, not mine). Her new body was designed for military use, primarily offworld black-ops wetwork, so...wow...I am going on about this. Sorry. On those rare occasions when rp in SL works, it's wonderful.

The platypus is glaring at me with his beady black monotreme eyes. I dare not disobey.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Something like eight and a half hours of sleep last night, the antidote to my recent insomnia, and now I'm groggy and not awake. At least the weather's turned cooler again.

I'm glad to see "The New Weird in Music Videos" entry was a hit last night. I'd not expected it to be. I'll keep it up. Thanks to people who made suggestions. Most were already on my list, but one or two were things I'd forgotten over the years.

Yesterday was spent (again) hammering away at the table of contents for the "best of" volume. Finally, late yesterday, I emailed the whole thing away to Bill Schafer at subpress. Right now, we're looking at twenty-eight pieces (including The Dry Salvages). The final tally will likely be shorter, twenty-six pieces or so. Many stories are more than 10,000-words long; five have never before been collected. I'll post the ToC here as soon as I can. Now, I have to start contacting six artists who've illustrated my writing at various times and whose art I'd like to see in the bonus section of the lettered/numbered state of the book.

Any day now, I'll be getting started on the second half of "The Yellow Alphabet." And another story for Sirenia Digest #57. By the way, thanks to Karina Melendez, the new website for the digest should be fully functional within a few more days, and we're going to be slowly making it possible to purchase back issues from the site, beginning with #s 56-50.

The platypus, dodo, and the mothmen (such a retinue upon my desk) say it's time to wrap this up and get to work. I ignore them at unspeakable peril.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Cool and cloudy here in Providence, with storms headed our way. A much needed respite; the forecast high for today is a mere 79F.

Yesterday, Spooky and I read back over everything that's been written so far on Chapter One of the Next New Novel, about 5,000 words, and then I spent two or three hours tweaking the text, fixing continuity faux pas, and so forth. Today, the chapter moves forward. I also did some more work on the "Best of" ToC, which gets more daunting whenever I look at it. Right now, I've chosen twenty-five stories, but only about seven of them are in for sure. The others are varying degrees of maybe. And even if all twenty-five were included, that would only be half of the book, at most.

About four p.m., I had to stop working, to get ready for dinner Out. Spooky and I drove downtown (well, she drove; I rode) and met Joshi and his wife, Leslie, and another Providence author, Jonathan Thomas, in the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel. We had dinner at McCormick and Schmick's, which was very excellent. We talked of books, misadventures in philately, local history and geography, tortoises in diapers, cats, ball lightning, small presses, trains, and, of course, weird fiction and Lovecraft. At some point, I looked out towards the street and realized the sun had set, and that we'd been talking (and eating) for close to three hours. I do not often get such huge doses of social interaction. I gave Jonathan and Joshi each a copy of The Ammonite Violin & Others. We gave Jonathan a ride home. I think we got back to the House about 9:30 p.m.

Oh, and my thanks to Karen Mahoney in faraway London, for sending me a copy of Mark Salisbury's beautiful Alice in Wonderland: A Visual Companion, which is filled with pre-production and behind-the-scenes goodies from Burton's adaptation.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Bid if you are able. Thanks.

And now I ought to wrap this up. I'm still groggy, and have to attend to email, and wake up, and all that rot. I am sleeping so much lately.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Some eight and a half hours sleep last night. Clearly, I'm making up for lost time. Vague memories of a dream, standing on a bridge looking down into crystal clear water (a recurring dream), somewhere in Florida. I watched shoals of fish and huge crayfish scuttling along the bottom.

Yesterday, I did 838 words on "The Maltese Unicorn," and found myself much nearer THE END than I'd expected I would. I'd thought I'd be at least Monday getting to the conclusion. Now, I'm planning today to make a big and merciless push towards that last word. I've been working on this story much too long. It's time to be done with it.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Also, The Ammonite Violin & Others is still available in the trade hardback edition.

Last night, after dinner, I watched a new Nova documentary on Mount St. Helens (I was only 15, almost 16, when it erupted on May 18th, 1980). And then we watched Joe Johnston's The Wolfman (2010), which was actually quite good. It was refreshing to get an old-school werewolf film, instead of all the nonsense about clans, otherkin, "lycans," and such (and for that, I blame White Wolf's werewolf rpg, the Underworld films, and a host of crappy paranormal romance novels that have reduced werewolves to "shifters"). Though ostensibly a remake of George Waggner's 1941 The Wolf Man (scripted by Curt Siodmak), Johnston's grandly atmospheric film pays homage to both the classic Hammer films and Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992). A great score by Danny Elfman (again, very reminiscent of Wojciech Kilar's score for Coppola's Dracula), and the cast is excellent through and through. It doesn't hurt that Benecio del Toro bears an uncanny resemblance to Lon Chaney, Jr., and Anthony Hopkins is nicely creepy. The transformation sequences are excellent, though I didn't find the end result nearly as menacing or otherworldly as the old-fashioned werewolf makeup effects from (again) Bram Stoker's Dracula. In fact, if I have any single gripe with Johnston's film it would be its reliance on CGI. Why was the trained bear in the gypsy camp done with CGI, and the stag that's used as bait for the werewolf? In both those cases, the sfx fall flat, though they usually work with the monster. The actual makeup was done by Rick Baker, by the way. Anyway, yes, I strongly recommend this one.

Afterwards, we watched a Dutch film, Ole Christian Madsen's Flammen & Citronen (2008), which was also excellent, and there's a lot I could say about it, but I've gone on so long about The Wolfman that I really need to wrap this up.

Yesterday was the birthday of the father of sociobiology*, E. O. Wilson (born in 1929). Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

The platypus is ready for the home stretch.

* Yes, I know that John Paul Scott was likely the first to use the term sociobiology, but it was Wilson who brought the field into its own (and took so much flack early on).
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The weather here in Providence has turned chilly, rainy, grey. The high today is forecast at 61F. June has become March. Well, no. For Rhode Island, June has become early May. I'm still acclimating to this very different climate. A few days ago, it was too hot to be in the house. Now it's sweater weather again.

Yesterday, I did 1,205 words on "The Maltese Unicorn." It moves towards a climax. But there's still no way I'll finish by Friday evening, or even Saturday afternoon. Maybe if I could write 2,000 words a day, a feat of which I am rarely capable. Maybe then.

A new round of eBay auctions began yesterday. Please have a look.

I ought to count yesterday as a very productive day. I pitched three projects, and sold two of them. But I'm in a murky place. I think it's this shitty weather. I want the sun back, please.

Last night, we were both too tired for much of anything, neither of us having slept well the night before. I read a little of Jenny Clack's book on the evolution of early tetrapods. We watched the season finale of Glee, which was very, very good and made up for last week's mess of an episode. Then we watched a couple of episodes from Season Five of Deadliest Catch. Then we tried to play WoW, but were both too tired to do anything but spaz off. So we watched a third episode of Deadliest Catch and went to bed at the amazingly early hour of 1:30 a.m. I slept more than eight hours, and feel much better this morning, despite vivid dreams of whoring and corporate espionage.

Comments are not unwelcomed. The platypus likes comments. The dodo concurs.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
I slept more than eight hours last night, which was a great relief, as I was stupid and useless and somewhat ill all day yesterday, due to the two nights before. And I did it without Ambien. Whenever I happen to note that I'm not sleeping well, I'm often met with advice which I understand to be well meaning. But sometimes it can be unintentionally funny. For example, chamomile tea is frequently suggested. Which, if we're talking about run of the mill sleeplessness, the occasional night when it's a little hard to get to sleep, fine. But my insomnia is like unto the Godzilla of insomnia. When even the Ambien's not working, it's a safe bet chamomile tea won't, either. Or hot baths. Or warm milk. Another commonly suggested remedy is the hormone melatonin. And I know melatonin can be a useful sleep aid. Problem is, melatonin use may worsen depression (which I am being treated for) and cause vivid dreams and nightmares (which I am being treated for). It also has the potential to interact with certain drugs I've been prescribed. So, not an option.

Yesterday was, not unexpectedly, and as predicted, a lost cause. Maybe this falls under the heading of self-fulfilling prophecy, but given I was having serious trouble walking in a straight line, I rather tend to doubt it. I spent the first part of the day listening to the audiobook of The Red Tree from Aubile.com. I finished it (first ever audiobook I've listened to start to finish, by the way). Overall, I'm very pleased. The voice of Sarah is not the voice I heard in my head as I wrote it, but it works very well, regardless. After The Red Tree, I downloaded Daughter of Hounds and made it through the prologue and the first two chapters. And then I got dressed and we headed to the Athenaeum.

I had it in my head that I'd get some research done for a short story I need to start, but soon discovered I was too sleep deprived to focus on much of anything. I wound up just sort of groggily prowling the stacks, randomly reading bits of this or that. Books on fish of the Atlantic, the great white shark, sea monsters, the Farallon Islands, Steinbeck's The Log of the Sea of Cortez...well, okay, that doesn't sound nearly so disconnected as it seemed at the time. Though I can't really fit the Tsavo lions in there. At some point, I pulled from a shelf The Story of the Sun by Sir Robert S. Bell (D. Appleton and Company, NYC), published in 1893. I could see from a spidery bit of handwriting on the endpapers that the book had been entered into the Athenaeum's catalog on January 29th, 1894, some one hundred and sixteen years ago. And I imagined all the people who have opened this book in that time, and taken it out, and read it. How many in all that time? It occurred to me that the book was there in the Athenaeum for all of Lovecraft's life, and given his love of astronomy, that he very probably at least thumbed through it at some point in his forty-seven years. It's almost like time travel, moments like those (especially when you've not slept). We left the Athenaeum just before closing (at seven p.m.), stopped by the market, then headed home.

After dinner, we watched three episodes of Glee (the new one, plus two older ones Spooky had seen, but I had not). I love "Britana." And we learned last night that the episode which airs in two weeks has been written by Joss Whedon. Later, I went into WoW for the first time in two or three weeks and did a very satisfying battlefield, just Alterac Vally but it went on for almost an hour and felt more like an actual battle than WoW battlefields usually do. After WoW, we read more of Patti Smith's Just Kids, and then I managed to fall asleep watching a comfort movie, Jack Arnold's Revenge of the Creature (1955). Whatever I dreamt, it's mostly forgotten now.

The latest round of eBay auctions will be ending this afternoon (between 3:07 and 3:31 p.m. EST). My thanks to everyone who has bid, or who might yet. Also, Spooky has added a few new pieces of beach-glass jewelery to her Dreaming Squid Dollworks Etsy shop.

Anyway, time to make the doughnuts. I took one photo yesterday morning, from the front parlor, just before six a.m. Yesterday was the first time I'd ever watched the sun rise over Providence:

5 May 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
The sky is going light here in Providence. Official sunrise isn't until 5:37 a.m., but it's only 5:11 and you could read a newspaper out there. The sky is that specific shade of violet-blue-grey than comes before dawn. I have lain awake for hours, trying not to keep Spooky awake. I tried reading, music, all the usual tricks. All my meds which have, in the last three weeks or so, been helping me sleep more than at any point during the last several years, inexplicably failed me tonight. Even a dose of Ambien, no longer part of my regimen, that I broke down and took before 4 a.m. has had no effect. And so I am awake, and I loathe this time of the morning. The world quite around me, quite and still, birds, people sleeping or just waking up, the house so quiet.

So...I'll likely spend this day in a fog, neither quite awake nor quite asleep. I'm rarely nearer true madness, I think, than when I am so deeply in the embrace of Monsieur Insomnia.

What else do you say at dawn? Other than, I wish I were asleep.

This is actually the second consecutive night of sleeplessness, though last night was not nearly this bad. An Ambien solved the problem. But it left me in a haze all day long, a haze through which I could not work. I managed the blog entry and most of the day's email. After that, as the House began to heat up, there was talk of heading back to the shore. But I wasn't up to it. Instead, I read to Spooky from Patti Smith's Just Kids and she read to me from Gregory Maguire's A Lion Among Men.

The ebay auctions end tomorrow, I think, and I'd be grateful if you'd please have a look. Thanks. And my thanks to those who have bid already.

I have more photographs from Monday, including "Spider Cove" (41˚28'43.08"N/71˚21'45.35"W):

3 May 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Sunny today, though not precisely warm. I opened my office window for about five minutes, then shut it again. But it'll be warmer tomorrow, and the tree outside my office window has tiny green shoots.

Nothing was written yesterday. Most of the day was spent trying to find a vignette. Still not sure whether or not I did. Also, I tried to work on the interview for Clarkesworld. You'll recall (or you won't) that back in the autumn I declared a moratorium on interviews, after having done a dozen or so relating to the release of The Red Tree. I thought that perhaps I was ready to begin giving interviews again. I may have been wrong. I answered the first question yesterday, and began the second...and suddenly it all sounded like bullshit, everything I'd said. The more I write, the older I get, the less interest I have in writing about how and why I write. The stories should speak for themselves. I do intend to finish this interview, but it will likely be my last for some time to come.

I slept almost eight hours again last night. I assume it's one of the new meds.

And I have this question, via email from Ron St. Pierre: "I know you do not write horror, but your stories give me a chill at times. I was re-reading my draft, and it gave me a chill. Is that how you know a story is working, when it really scares yourself?"

No. I can only think of a two or three times that I've written stories that frightened me. "Rats Live on No Evil Star," that one did. Perhaps also "La Peau Verte." But it's a very, very rare thing, when that happens. Which is hardly surprising, as I'm not trying to write stories that "scare" people (which is one of several reasons I say I'm not a "horror" writer). And even if a story were to frighten me, given the inherent subjectivity of fear, scaring myself would be no guarantee than anyone else would have the same reaction. Sometimes, when I am writing, there is a sort of frission, a certain intensity. When I feel that, I usually suspect that "a story is working." Well, for me, at least. There is never, ever any way to know that a story that works just fine for me will work for anyone else. No matter how desperately a writer may strive for mass appeal, or even appeal beyond him- or herself, the enterprise is too personal, too introverted, too subjective to ever know such a thing a priori. If others like it, you have on your hands a fortunate accident and nothing more. And there I was more articulate than my attempts to answer interview questions yesterday.

---

Last night, we watched the Coen Brothers' A Serious Man. Wow. An amazing, unnerving film. At least, we found it so. I expect many people watched the film and were simply baffled. I loved the prologue, it's encounter with a dybbuk on a snowy night. The remainder of the film builds towards a peculiar crescendo that interweaves the utterly inexplicable nature of the universe (or, if you prefer, "God"), Jewish American culture in the late 1960s/early 1970s, the story of Job, a sort of anti-nostalgia, the inscrutability of mankind, and an almost Fortean spite for anything like comprehension. The final shot...which I won't reveal...gave me chills. And the film is also quite funny, though, in the end, the laughs seem to add up to a very, very cruel joke. Very highly recommended.

And now, the day.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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