greygirlbeast: (serafina)
A very groggy sort of morning, though I did manage to get to bed not long after two ayem.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,218 words on the untitled prologue for Joey Lafaye, and it seems to be going well. Spooky likes it. Right now, her opinion is all I have to go on, that and my own instincts. The prologue actually happens shortly after Chapter One, and I'm trying to figure out how to make that clearer. I also made more beanie platypi (I'm calling them beanie, because "ricey" just sounds dumb). So, yes, lots of work yesterday, and working almost always helps. The auctions will begin sometime today.

I also finished reading Jim Ottaviani and Big Time Attic's Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards: A Tale of Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh and the Gilded Age of Paleontology (G.T. Labs, 2005). Quite nice, all in all. I have a long-standing fascination with the "bone war" that waged between Cope and Marsh, and like me, Ottaviani's somewhat fictionalized account comes down more firmly on the side of Cope. I think it's truly very difficult to tell the story of that rivalry and not cast Cope as the "hero" and Marsh as "villian." This is, of course, something of an oversimplification, but there's only so much anyone can do in a 150 pp. graphic novel. Using Charles R. Knight as the tale's fulcrum was an interesting approach. Plus, supporting roles and cameos by the likes of P.T. Barnum, Buffalo Bill Cody, Alexander Graham Bell, and Ulysses S. Grant. It makes a nice introduction to an odd and shameful chapter of American paleontology. I was especially pleased with a bit near the end, where Marsh, at his home in New Haven, is entertaining Chief Red Cloud, and the Sioux leader makes the point that such stories as myths and history are about men, not science.

Not much else really. We had a good walk yesterday. I'm feeling less stiff, but tire far too easily. The weather here continues to be more like May than December. There were a few clouds yesterday, and the sky spat drizzle for about five minutes. I cannot imagine anything, at this point, that's going to save Atlanta from a disastrous water shortage. Spooky made a pot of chili. I spent too much time in Second Life. That sort of an evening (and my thanks to [ profile] blu_muse for filling Void full of lead, then taking her to the hospital).

I wanted to write something else this morning, something about how much easier it is for Americans to sympathize with the plight of American screenwriters (because, well, you know, movies make money), as compared to the plight of working American novelists, and how this relates to my generally unfortunate experiences the last two years writing the Beowulf novelization. As in, you think screenwriters have it bad, you ought to hear how the other half lives (but yes, I do fully support the current WGA strike). But I need coffee, and I'm just not up to it right now. Maybe later, like tomorrow. Or next week.
greygirlbeast: (ragna)
I am presently so very not awake, but I wanted to get past the journal entry early today. I have already let so much of December slip past me when there was not a single day to be spared, I can't lose any more days. I can begin losing days again in April or May.

No writing yesterday, but that should be fairly obvious from the paragraph above. I started to have a go at the prologue for Joey Lafaye, but then I got to talking about the book with Spooky, which led me down all sorts undesirable side roads until I was no longer in the mood to write anything. So, I dithered about. Cleaned my office a bit, and cleaned the kitchen a bit. Filed a few things in my big black filing cabinet. But mostly, I dithered. I traded the buggy, unreliable ptp programme Frost Wire for the extremely functional Poisoned, which, after a day of downloads I'd recommend to any Mac user running OS X or higher. I straightened up my desktop (the iMac's desktop). I finally sat down and put my meager sewing skills to work making two little (7.75") beanie platypi. I've been meaning to do this for ages. See below.

The weather was unseasonably warm, still 71F at 5:30 p.m., and I had my first good walk in weeks. I have to try to get back into something like decent shape, and not walking because I'm too depressed to walk only makes me more depressed and less likely to walk. So, we walked all the way to Washita Avenue NE, south of the Carter Center and Freedom Park, before turning for home. There were irises blooming along Sinclair. On the way back, we stopped at Criminal Records, and I picked up copies of Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards (Jim Ottaviani and Big Time Attic) and the first volume of Fantagraphic's E. C. Segar's Popeye collection, I Yam What I Yam. More on both later.

After dinner, we watched Len Wiseman's Live Free or Die Hard, which despite the title, was exactly what I needed last night: a good Die Hard film. A big, dumb action film with just the right ratio of explosions and car crashes to snarling one-liners. It was good to see Timothy Oliphant outside Deadwood (no, I haven't seen Hitman, and won't until the DVD release). Justin Long — the "Mac guy" — was a blast, and Maggie Q was, well, kick-ass hot. Later still, there was some Second Life, because sometimes nothing makes you fell better than roleplaying a cyborg angel in a post-apocalyptic world.


This comment/question from [ profile] seph_ski:

As someone who holds your books, Silk especially, in a very dear place in my heart, to hear that there are changes made in the latest mmps makes me wince a little in fear of that "Han shot first" kind of situation. Part of me really wants to pick up the latest and give it a read because I'm quite certain that if you think it's better, it's better. But the sentimental part of me says if I want to reread the story, I should just pick up the well worn and loved copy from my shelf and indulge in the very same copy of the book that completely enchanted me years ago. I read quite a bit, but there' only a short list of books I love enough to come back to (my to-read list is too long to allow for many rereads), and even fewer authors I'm fond enough of to keep up with, so your journaling is the first I'm hearing of changes made between earlier editions and mmps. Is it standard practice for authors to make changes between editions? (I'm a little nervous to hear this answer because it could mean a mass add to my already avalanching read pile.)

I know I'm going to wind up reading your mmps regardless, but I admit I'm still feeling a little conflicted, like reading an edited version would be cheating on an old favorite, ridiculous as that may sound.

I think the revision that always drove me most nuts was the release of Stephen King's uncut version of The Stand. The previously unpublished material was great, but he also, inexplicably, tried to update the text from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s. Hell, he even changed the brand of candy bar that Harold Lauder eats! Anyway, these are not the sorts of revisions I've made. The changes have been made mainly to the book's language, it's voice, not the plot or details or characters. Spyder is still Spyder. Daria is still Daria. Deacon is still Deacon. Some people may not like the changes to the prose, but they were something I felt I had to do, as the old text no longer worked for me. All the changes were entirely voluntary, by the way, and for that matter I was not paid by the publisher for all that editing (and it was a lot of editing). Also, near as I know, it is fairly unusual for writers to make these sorts of revisions to books that have already been published. Oh, and once again, here are the correct links and ISBNs for the new mass-market editions:

Silk (ISBN 978-0-451-45668-7)

Threshold (978-0-451-46124-7)

Low Red Moon (978-0-451-46164-3)


To help cover my recent and soon-to-come medical bills, we will be beginning a new batch of eBay auctions today or tomorrow. Among other things, we'll be offering copies of the lettered edition of Tales from the Woeful Platypus, with the aforementioned handmade-by-me platypus beanie. Each platypus beanie (actually, they're stuffed with rice, not beans) will be initialed and lettered to match the copy of the book it is sold with. You will recall that the lettered edition of this book was not offered for sale by Subterranean Press (or anyone else). I have been sitting on the 16 copies Bill gave me (K-Z, if I recall correctly — I kept K for myself). We will auction letter X first. I'm not sure how many of these we will be auctioning just now, as I can't say how many platypi I'm going to feel like sewing. We shall see. Details and link TBA.

Oh, and I got another request for my Amazon wishlist, which you may find here. And you can find Spooky's here. Solstice gifts will not go unappreciated.

Okay. I need breakfast and coffee. Then the words must flow.
greygirlbeast: (new chi)
A mightily peculiar and disconcerting dream this ayem. If you can imagine The Last King of Scotland crossed with The War of the Worlds, you'll have a pretty good idea.

So, yeah. Yesterday. Not so bad as Wednesday, though, really, mostly spent recovering from Wednesday. I have a new policy. I will no longer even check my email until after the day's writing has been done. So, if you send me an email in the morning, or late at night, you likely will not get a reply until the afternoon or evening. Or a week later. Too many days recently have been ruined by email that has derailed me. I can't allow that to continue, not with these deadlines.

Yesterday, I spent two and half hours finishing the signature sheets for the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder (now available for pre-order). Also note that there are still a few copies of Tales from the Woeful Platypus available from Subterranean Press.

After the signing was done, I had a bath, and then read "Reflections" by Angela Carter. I've been working my way through Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces (1974), trying to keep my head in the writing space. Monday, I read "The Executioner's Beautiful Daughter" and "Elegy for a Freelance." I suspect my favourite story in Fireworks will always be "Master."

Also, I should remind you of the new Stiff Kitten T-shirts available from Ziraxia. Just the way Mort would have wanted it.

Last night, Spooky got dinner from the deli at Whole Foods, and I watched something horrid on TV about the building of tractor-trailer trucks, and we had a walk in Freedom Park. Lots of bats, low storm clouds underlit by the lights of downtown and by the sunset. Later still, I spent a few hours in the Dune sim. And that was yesterday. And tonight we get Byron, which makes the whole damn day easier to think about.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
It seems impossible that six years have now elapsed...

Yesterday, we proofed "Angels You Can See Through," "Lafayette," and "...Between the Gargoyle Trees," so we almost finished the Tales of Pain and Wonder read-through. And I made a decision regarding the "Table of Contents" — the new edition will include "Mercury," which did not appear in the first and second editions (as it wasn't written until late 2003). It will not, however, include "Angels You Can See Through." Reading back over the piece yesterday, I have to admit I found it clumsy and insubstantial. I had already decided to include "Mercury" in this edition, a week or two back, and it is a far better story than "Angels You Can See Through." Today, we proof "Mercury," and then I begin the actually editing, which I hope to have completed by tomorrow evening or Thursday evening at the latest.

There was also a phone call from my lit agent, as we're having some trouble with the wording of my new Penguin contract. And I'm getting gentle nudges from producer D. It is time I remember how to be a "workaholic" once more. I went too easy on myself in August, and now I am dreadfully behind.

Much to my amazement, there is actually one page in the new Tales of Pain and Wonder typescript with no red marks — p. 396, in "Lafayette." I think there's an average of twenty or thirty corrections per page. And at 471 pages...well, you do the math. This falls into the category of work that was definitely not in my best interest, financially, but this collection has been published twice before, and neither time was I happy with the outcome; this time, I am determined that I will be.

Beowulf will be out very soon, and, in the meantime, there's Daughter of Hounds, Threshold, and Low Red Moon, as well as Tales from the Woeful Platypus. The new editions of Silk and Murder of Angels will be along in December and April, respectively. And if you can't find these books at Borders or Barnes and Noble, there's always Amazon, which has everything, in or out of print. Oh, and of course there's also Sirenia Digest, in case, by some odd chance, you have not yet subscribed.

Last night, we walked at sunset, made a big pot of chili, and very late I watched Carol Reed's adaptation of Graham Greene's The Third Man (1949) on TCM, with Joseph Cotton, Orson Welles, and Alida Valli. I adore this film, but I will admit the zither drives me nuts. Oh, and I found time to make another entry to Professor Nishi's journal. All in all, a fine and busy day.

"Shut up and get to work," says the platypus, and who am I to ever argue...
greygirlbeast: (bluenareth)
I took two kava at about 3:45 a.m. and so managed to get seven hours uninterrupted sleep, but now I'm groggy and dragged out and can't quite get my eyes to focus. And I need to keep this shortish, because I slept too late.

A comment to Thursday's entry by [ profile] sisyphusiren, who writes:

While I was reading Tales from the Woeful Platypus, I noticed a strong undercurrent of connection between sex, destruction of a more human created world, and (re)creation of a more natural one - or perhaps a breaking down of the barriers between. Specifically, I noticed this in "Daughter of Man, Mother of Wyrm" and "The Garden of Living Flowers," though I'm sure I could come up with more examples if I had the motivation to get out of my rolly chair and get the book. I was just wondering if this was conscious or subconscious intent on your part, or something more along the lines of the "relative reading" you mentioned before?

This time you're seeing something I've placed there consciously. Almost all the erotic fiction I've written has, to one degree or another, dealt directly with the subversion of body, mind, and (to a lesser extent) society by the invasion of the Other, the Uncanny. Which is very often the subject of my non-erotic writing, for that matter. In part, this simply follows from what I happen to find erotic. I have so many kinks, but I think they can all be placed beneath the umbrella of "transformation." But this recurring theme also arises from my thoughts on Cosmicism, the transitory nature of humanity, and the frisson that can be aroused by touching upon the common human fear or dread or secret and taboo longing for genuine transmutation. All material states are temporary, though most people spend their lives trying to believe otherwise. Flux is the rule. The reality of a continuum versus the illusion of discrete units of existence. That's where it's coming from. Forgive me if I'm not making much sense; I'm still trying to find wakefulness. Good question, though. And now that I think on it, this is, I suspect, why some people commenting upon the writing in Sirenia Digest and the two volumes of collected erotica have praised the writing, but noted that it isn't actually erotic (or isn't actually "erotica"). To which I can only reply, for me it is, very much so.

And yesterday, [ profile] david_m_lemoine wrote:

What I love most about your sci-fi work is how it seems to not concern itself with the fact that it is sci-fi. The setting of the future is just another backdrop to tell a story, which makes the story all the more intriguing. It many cases, to me at least, it's like getting a glimpse into the actual future, like reading a fictional tale that just happened to be written by someone in the future. I like that quite a lot.

And my response to David was that this pretty much sums up my approach to sf. One reason so much of it fails to capture my interest is that often the author is actually writing about the science and the technology, creating fiction that's really not much more than gussied-up tech prOn. And I accept that some writers want to write this, and that some readers want their sf to be of this sort, but it's not what I do. I write stories about characters, and whether those characters are inhabiting a past, present, or future setting, they are the central focus. In the case of sf, they are not there arbitrarily, merely so that I have an excuse to expound upon this or that imagined future. So, yes, another good point.

Replying to good comments makes blogging ever so much easier.

As for yesterday, I began a new piece for Sirenia Digest #19, "The Steam Dancer," which is not only my first attempt at anything like a Western, it's also my first real attempt at alternate history or steampunk. The style is very stripped down. I did 1,107 words yesterday, and Spooky likes it a lot, which is usually a good sign. We had a nice walk yesterday, in between thunderstorms. The rain is badly needed here. We watched Hayashi Shigeyuki's Metoroporisu (2001) for a sort of pseudo-Kid Night film. Spooky had not seen it, and I'd only seen it twice. It is such a beautiful, brilliant film. Afterwards, I logged onto Second Life and did my stripper thing at Club insureXtion in Moolbora. I made $701 Lindens, which is a fair sight better than the night before. Thanks to the people who came out. But, at one point, I could not help but recall what Agent Smith says to Morpheus:

Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be...happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program, entire crops were lost. Some believed that we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world...But I believe, that as a species, human beings define their reality though misery and suffering.

And Milton, too: The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven.

Okay, and anyway, the writing awaits. I want to try to finish "The Steam Dancer" by Monday, because UPS left a CEM on my porch this morning while I was sleeping, courtesy my editor at HarperCollins, and I only have until the 19th to take care of that. I'm coming, platypus. Hold your horses...

Oh, and here's the link to the Silk auction.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
This is why I hang onto books that I will likely never read or consult again. Likely, but nothing's ever certain. Yesterday, I found myself going back to Elaine Pagels' Adam, Eve, and the Serpent (1988), which I probably haven't read since it was new. But there was this One Last Scene I wanted to add to "The Ape's Wife," and there was this bit of gnostic poetry I could not quite recall, but which I suspected I first encountered in a Pagels book. Turns out, it's "The Thunder: Perfect Mind". So, yeah, there was Elaine Pagels yesterday, and the etymology and origin of Cherubim, and how Xtians went and got themselves so hung up about sex, and so on and so forth. I wrote the new scene, the last new scene, which came in at about 300 words. At that point, the total word count for the story had reached 8,974. I read it aloud to Spooky, which led to a great number of corrections. Before the day was done, I'd put in another six hours on the story, and the total word count had inched up to 9,011. Finally, I have come to a point where I have to force myself to step away from this one. About 10:30 p.m., I e-mailed it to Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press, and also to [ profile] sovay, because I needed another opinion. Though some very minor line edits may remain, I think that it is finally finished.

Thank you, Elaine Pagels. And Tori Amos.

Yesterday brought my contributor's copy of the May 2007 issue of Locus, the "horror issue." My short article, "Awful Things," can be found on page 56, right next to Ramsey Campbell's short article. There were a number of things in the issue to make me smile. Ed Bryant's comments on Alabaster and Daughter of Hounds, for example. He pronounces the latter "...a terrific contemporary Lovecraftian novel that never parodies or condescends, but pays loving tribute to the Great Old Guy of prolix horror even as the author crafts a tautly pyrotechnic tale of ghouls and wizards, alcoholism and strained family ties, love and violence." Also, [ profile] jlassen makes reference to "the Baudelaire-ian epics of Caitlín R. Kiernan." It almost seems I'm getting more comparisons to Baudelaire these days than to HPL.

The issue also contains a review by Tim Pratt of Tales from the Woeful Platypus. When I learned of this review, I admit that I was leery. With both Platypus and Frog Toes and Tentacles before it, I asked subpress to please forgo advanced reading copies (which they did), as I really did want to see reviews for these books. I cannot say for sure whether I did this because I saw the "weird erotica" as just a minor and unimportant detour, or if I was afraid that writing it would adversely effect how my "serious" books were perceived, or if I was just being insecure. Regardless, the weird erotica has now become a significant part of my writing, and a part I genuinely enjoy, and I am decidedly not ashamed of it and have seen no evidence of these two books or Sirenia Digest having any sort of adverse effect on my career. And I am glad for Tim's review, which concludes that "...Kiernan has made magic and art from the intersection of sex and haunted lives, magic and secret desires." I was also pleased that he deemed the writing in "Daughter of Man, Mother of Wyrm" to be some of my "best, creating a wonderful derangement of the senses. Of "pas-en-arrìere,' the review says "...and the two [characters] do a dance of circling seduction, advancing and retreating, and delving into unexpectedly treacherous emotional territory; it's a remarkable character study." So, yeah, how could I not smile over all that?

What else was there to yesterday? Somehow, I managed not to leave the house, but I did catch a new documentary on the Discovery Science Channel about NASA's "Starship Orion" project. We read another chapter of The Children of Húrin (Chapter VI, "Túrin Among the Outlaws"). I half watched Katharine Hepburn in Sylvia Scarlett (1935) on TCM, which had some marvelous gender-bending moments and I wish I could have given it my full attention. After Spooky was asleep, I started Jay Parini's 1994 biography of John Steinbeck, but only made it through the prologue before I finally got too sleepy to read any farther. I think that was about 3 a.m.

Okay. Time to make the doughnuts. Or bagels. Or what have you. You know, things with holes.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
This is one of those rare mornings when I just want to go back to bed. Grab Spooky and go back to bed. Stay in my dreams, and never mind the goddamn wet tile floors and blinding fluorescent lights and missing syringes and legless albino women. Stay in my dreams, anyway. I'm not awake. Not awake, but not asleep. Ah, well.

It just occurred to me that today is not Monday.

I have learned that "Bainbridge" (from Alabaster) earned a spot on the Best American Fantasy 2006 recommended reading list. Only twenty-five stories made the list, and mine is the only one from a single-author collection. It's nice to see so many small/literary magazines on this list, by the way, not just genre publications. Though long since sold out at the publisher (subpress), you can still order the trade hardcover of Alabaster from (for only $16.50!); just follow the link above.

Speaking of Subterranean Press, yesterday afternoon Bill Schafer informed me that twenty copies of the limited of Tales from the Woeful Platypus were recently and unexpectedly located, hidden somewhere in the bowels of their stock. So, just barely, the limited is not yet sold out after all. But I expect it will be very soon, so if you want one of these, this is a "you snooze, you lose" situation. Red leather. You know you want it.

Yesterday was spent recuperating from the trip and answering e-mail, getting ready to descend once again into the words mines today. Now that the object of the long March is behind me, I should proceed at once to Sirenia Digest #16 — do not pass go, do not collect $200 dollahs — because as soon as it's written, I need to get started on The Dinosaurs of Mars, which has been long delayed. I spoke with Bill Schafer about that book yesterday, discussing the matter of illustrations and cover art. That's my goal for March — Sirenia Digest #16 and at least the first 15,000 words of The Dinosaurs of Mars (plus an article for Locus and some proofreading). It will be a busy month, but the good sort of busy.

Let's see. Yesterday. Well, I can say that I'm right proud of my landlord for dealing our noisy tribe of attic-dwelling squirrels by calling a humane "pest" control service, namely Animals B' Gone. Here is their page on squirrels. Were it actually my house, I'd probably just let the squirrels have the damned attic. But I'm like that.

At sunset yesterday evening, Spooky and I headed over to Freedom Park, hoping for a decent view of the lunar eclipse. But there were too many clouds in the east, and we were only afforded glimpses. The temps have turned cool again, and there was a bitter wind blowing. Hopefully, the weather will be more amenable to viewing during the second lunar eclipse of 2007 (August 28th). There's a partial solar eclipse coming on March 19th, but it will only be visible from eastern Asia and parts of northern Alaska.

Last night, we watched Ryan Murphy's Running With Scissors, which I will say, belatedly, was surely one of the best films of 2006, though I don't think the Oscars took note. The Golden Globes did. Anyway, this is a must see, I would say. Oh, I almost forgot. Byron dropped by yesterday. We have made plans to see 300 and The Host next weekend.

Anyway, here's my hard hat and lunch pail. The platypus says it's time for the word mines — down, down down....

Postscript (2:12 p.m. CaST: Two statistics I find fascinating, both from the March 2007 issue of National Geographic. 1) "The size of an average American home has increased 63% over the past three decades." 2) "1,210 U.S. Protestant churches have weekly attendance over 2,000 — nearly double the number five years ago." I don't know which number is more disturbing.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
With only a modicum of fanfare and just a tad of hullabaloo, the New Consolidated March ended at 4:57 p.m. (CaST) on Sunday. It "only" required 2,025 words of me. It is done, and now I can move on.

Outside, the day is bright, and the sun actually seems warm today. Recently, we've been had many warm days that were not actually warm, mostly due to chilly winds. But today might be different. Only 55F right now, but there's a forecast high of 63F. I have not left the house since February 22nd. I have promised Spooky I will have a long walk today.

Just as soon as Vince sends me the art for this issue, Sirenia Digest #15 will go out to subscribers.

Me, I have to go to Birmingham, tomorrow or the day after. I was supposed to go last week, but thanks to friends, I was able to delay the whole thing by a week. But no more. I've not really left the Atlanta metro area since we returned from Rhode Island back in August. Sheesh.

I have long been an Oscar geek, but this year I just couldn't seem to care. Last night was the first Oscar ceremony I have chosen not to watch since sometime in high school, maybe 1980. But, I am pleased with some of the results. Three for Pans Labyrinth. I'm extremely happy that An Inconvenient Truth received Best Documentary. I'm also glad to see that the Academy has finally honored Scorcese, even if The Departed is far from his best film (and certainly not the best film of 2006). Very pleased to hear that Alan Arkin got Best Supporting Actor, and how can I not be glad that Helen Mirren won (though I've not seen the film in question). Great news that the R&B yodeling from Dreamgirls lost out to Melissa Etheridge's song from An Inconvenient Truth, and I'm cool with Best Visual Effects going to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. But I am still angry that the very deserving Marie Antionette was all but shut out. Same with The Fountain and The Prestige.

Yesterday, [ profile] saphfyre wrote:

I received my copy of Tales from the Woeful Platypus in the mail last week (damn waiting for things to get to Australia) and it is just as beautifully written as Frog Toes. So far i've read it in bed, and in church when forced to go to my cousins christening (much to my family's disgust), its the perfect size to carry around to read whenever one has a spare five minutes. My favorite story is still Untitled 17, but they're all amazing in their own ways.

To which I say I think she deserves the First Annual Brazen Platypus Award. And that one's gonna be hard to top. Or bottom.

And may I just please say how unspeakably sick I am of all this "Mercury in retrograde" nonsense? No, really. It's one thing to see stupid people saying stupid things. That's what stupid people do. That's why we have them. But it's another thing entirely when I see seemingly intelligent people blaming the relative positions of the Earth and Mercury for various aspects of their lives not going quite right. Mercury in retrograde, indeed. It would be less annoying and just as rational if they'd blame Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the ghost of Jesus Christ.*

Note that some of the eBay auctions end today, the ARCs for both From Weird and Distant Shores and Low Red Moon. So, if these items interest you, have a look. Thanks.

*Allowances are made for that which is purely ironical, natch.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
Yesterday, I marched quite a bit farther than expected, 2,383 steps, which by my personal standard (the only one that can matter in this instance) makes it a very good marching day, indeed. All the way up to the top of that steep final hill and most of the way back down the other side. When I made camp, I could see my goal so clearly that I almost decided to push on. But I was exhausted, and my steps would have been faltering, at best. I might have twisted an ankle in the dark. I might have done a shoddy job of THE END. Better that I have waited until today. No looking back, and there can be only joy and relief at the conclusion of this very difficult four-month march.

A question from [ profile] activistgirl regarding "Untitled 20," which appears in Tales from the Woeful Platypus (reprinted from Sirenia Digest #2):

Halfway through Tales from the Woeful Platypus and it's been great! "Untitled 20" is my favorite thus far, if I have to pick. Were you thinking of The Postal Service's or Iron and Wine's version of "Such Great Heights"? Kinda mundane question but I think it makes a difference...Sorry if you've answered this one before!

I was thinking of the version by Iron and Wine. I've not answered this one before. And "Untitled 20" happens to be one of my favourite pieces from Sirenia Digest, though I could not explain precisely why. I'd love to see hear more reaction to Tales from the Woeful Platypus, by the way. Don't be so frelling shy.

Yesterday, I came across a blog somewhere out there in which Elizabeth Hand was described as the older, less-annoying sister of Poppy Z. Brite and Caitlín Kiernan. I probably should be used to this sort of thing by now, these peculiar, almost unfathomable insults from total strangers. I mean, I guess this is meant as an insult, in that I am declared "annoying" (though I frequently am, annoying that is). On the interweb, all self-styled smart cookies will have their say.

Spooky spent most of yesterday working on her first owl doll, which I think is going to be one of her best yet. She also posted a new [ profile] ditl ("A day in the week they murdered my favorite tree."), in which I make a couple of guest appearances. After dinner, I had a hot bath, and we watched Werner Herzog's My Best Friend: Klaus Kinski (1999), then read Chapter Four of A Slight Trick of the Mind. Very late, after midnight, a marvelous wind arose, roaring through high branches and across rooftops. I read Chapter Eleven of In the Wake of Madness ("George Black"). I think I was asleep a little after three, early for me.

I should repeat the eBay announcement from yesterday's entry:

Please take a moment to have a look at the latest eBay auctions. There's a copy of the ARC of From Weird and Distant Shores, one of the last I'll be able to offer. The same is true of the copies of "On the Road to Jefferson" and Candles for Elizabeth. There's also an ARC of the Subterranean Press edition of Low Red Moon and a copy of The Five of Cups.

Anyway, yes, the platypus bleats once more.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I suppose it was entirely appropriate that UPS delivered unto me a great box of Tales from the Woeful Platypus (and "The Black Alphabet" chapbook) on February 14th. It's a gorgeous book, both editions, though I have to admit that I prefer the red leather. These are such grand little volumes, they make up for a lot of the day-to-day crap that comes with this freelance life. Has everyone who pre-ordered received hisherits copy by now?

In a fine bit of serendipity, I was just now looking back at old blog entries and discovered that yesterday was the 2nd anniversary of the day Spooky and I first visited the frog exhibit at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. So, how fitting that yesterday we used my day off to visit the new "Lizards and Snakes: Alive!" exhibit at Fernbank? A wonderful exhibition, all in all, and I was especially pleased to see the "e"-word prominent in the exhibit text (despite this being Georgia), along with cladograms and a small number of fossil squamates (Peltosaurus [cast], Estesia [cast], Madtsoia, Megalania [cast], and Platecarpus tympaniticus). I was disappointed that there were so few snakes, only about seven species, while there must have been at least three or four times that number of lizard species. The lizards were, for the most part, surprisingly active, and I saw a number of taxa I'd never before seen in person. There are a few photos (all by Spooky) behind the cut:

3 lizards, 1 snake )

Otherwise, yesterday was windy and bitterly cold, and I can only look forward to next week and the return of warmer temperatures.

The platypus just gave me the 30-second warning, as there is writing to be done today, so I best cut this short before I suffer the wrath of those venomous spurs...
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Yesterday, I did 1,197 words on the second piece for Sirenia Digest #15 (February 2006), something homoerotic about lycanthropy, and somehow "I Only Have Eye For You" slipped into the mix. I do what the words want, and I've learned not to ask questions. Okay, that's not true...I'll never learn not to ask questions...but still, inevitably, I do what the words want. Also, I had a 4:30 p.m. (CaST) with Merrilee, my lit agent, and then a talk with Bill Schafer at subpress, which made yesterday a rather communicative day for me. Also also, a care package came from [ profile] docbrite. So, it was a good day, all in all. Today, I hope to finish the new vignette and find a suitable title for it. Also, I need to tweak the Joey LaFaye proposal just a little bit more. And then I will send it away to Merrilee.

I understand that those who pre-ordered Tales from the Woeful Platypus have been receiving their orders the last few days. I've not seen the finished book yet myself, though my comp copies should be here very soon. I have been told it is a beautiful volume, a worthy successor to Frog Toes and Tentacles. If you did not pre-order, I urge you to follow the link above and pick up a copy of the trade hardback (the limited sold out months ago).

Yesterday was quite warm, all the way to 67F by 4 p.m. (CaST). We opened the windows to air the house out a bit and had a short walk through Freedom Park. I wanted a much longer walk, but there wasn't time. I still had the windows open long after dark. Spring is not so far away now, and just knowing that makes it all easier.

Last night, [ profile] docbrite posted the cover of Antediluvian Tales, her forthcoming collection of short fiction, which you may now pre-order from Subterranean Press. I am so smitten with the cover that I wanted to post it here (below):

I've decided that tomorrow, which happens to be Valentine's Day, will be a Day Off. I cannot actually spare the time, especially since it has become necessary to go to Birmingham late next week, but I have spent far too much time at this keyboard during the last six weeks, and Spooky and I need some "us" time. I've never been much for Valentine's Day, and generally consider it one of the more unfortunate hand-me-downs of the Victorian Age. But. Any port in a storm. Maybe I'll even find some pink construction paper, red glitter, Elmer's glue, and macaroni, and make Spooky a proper Valentine.

Congratulations and grateful thanks to [ profile] troublebox, who won the Raven Red auction last night. And I think the Raven Black auction just ended. Which leaves only Raven Green and Raven Blue, both of which end later today. Have a look. The Ravens Four are quite excited at the moment.

Right. The platypus just got out the riding crop, so...
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Spooky says this is a day off. I haven't yet written the O on my engagement calendar, though. In fact, we already did some work that had to be done (sending the corrections on "Zero Summer" to subpress). But I am not writing. For the first day in twenty days, I am not writing.

Yesterday, though, I wrote 1,558 words. Which brings my total since January 1st to 32,229. Which is likely a personal record.

Tomorrow, I have to work on Sirenia Digest, getting #14 ready to go out on Wednesday. Though I have not seen the final version, I am extremely happy with Vince's illustration for this issue. Gorgeous. Perfect for "The Sphinx's Kiss," as you shall see. Unless you are not a subscriber. In which case you will miss out and be sad.

I should not do journal entries on days off, as HTML definitely feels like work.

Anything else about yesterday? We read a great deal more of Ironweed, all the way past 2 a.m. we were still reading. [ profile] docbrite called last night, and we talked for almost an hour, which is the most social contact I've had with anyone but Spooky since New Year's Day, when Byron came for dinner. I washed my hair. We set out to take a walk, but only made it as far as the southern edge of Freedom Park before the cold convinced me that exercise can wait until warmer weather. I put more Concrete Blonde on the iPod (Walking in London and Concrete Blonde). That was yesterday.

Okay. Now for something that is actually important. Today (Sunday) and tomorrow (Monday), Subterranean Press is running a benefit book sale to help defray costs of medical treatment for Sam Jones, a preschooler who has been diagnosed with cancer of the brain stem. Here's how it works:

"The special we’re running is very simple. To make it an appealing offer to you, every in-print title is 25% off if bought January 21 or 22.

For our part, we’ll be donating 25% of the retail price of each sale book bought on Sunday or Monday (Jan 21-22) to Sam’s family to help with their expenses while he’s in treatment, and will guarantee a donation of at least $2000."

So, if you still haven't picked up a copy of Tales from the Woeful Platypus, The Five of Cups, or "Mercury" (all my other subpress books seem to be sold out), today would be a very good day to do so. There are so many talented folks publishing with subpress these days, there's bound to be Something by Someone you'd like.

Let's wrap this up. Because it is manifestly not time to make the doughnuts. I've locked the platypus in hisherits carrier until tomorrow morning.
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The writing went well yesterday. I did precisely 1,800 words. This puts the Word Bank at 2,196. I call that breathing room, should the need arise. At this point, it's 16 down, 15 days to go. Which sort of made yesterday the top of this tall hill. I am now headed down the other side and shall let gravity do what gravity does.

Good news from my editor yesterday. Daughter of Hounds is still on the Barnes and Noble SF/F trade paperback charts, at #30. If it makes my editor happy, it must be good. I have been disappointed, though, that there have not been more reviews.

Yesterday, the signature sheets for Tales from the Woeful Platypus went away to the printer in Dexter, Michigan. Subpress now has the cover posted, by the way. Those who have preordered the book should have it before much longer.

A nice e-mail from yesterday, courtesy Alan F.:

First things first: I'm a huge fan. I loved Daughter of Hounds, which came as no surprise at all, though when I think about the book now it's this sentence from p. 21 that will always come immediately to mind:

'His eyes are like spoonfuls of fire.'

God, I love that. The humour, too; Odd Willie made me laugh out loud at least half a dozen times (trust me, for me that's impressive).

About your forthcoming SF collection; I agree with one of the posted comments,
A is For Alien is a great title. Although - and assuming the story will be in there - what about calling it Bradbury Weather & Other Stories, which strikes me as a good way to pay homage to the man? Then again, going by the titles of your previous collections, maybe one ending in ...& Other Stories doesn't really work for you...

Thank you. I rather like Bradbury Weather & Other Stories. Or maybe just Bradbury Weather. Anyway, I have some time to figure all this out.

After the writing yesterday, I got dressed and left the house (insert collective gasp here). The weather had turned windy and bitter. Blegh. We drove over to Borders and picked up a copy of Mitch Cullin's Tideland. Gods, bookshops depress me. Then we stopped by Whole Foods for kava. Back home, Spooky made chili for dinner, and then we watched Sam Wood's splendid adaptation of Ernest Hemigway's For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943). I so adore this film — not as much as I adore the novel, but enough to land it in any longish list of my favorite films. And Gary Cooper always does it for me. Plus, Ingrid Bergman at 28 made a perfectly delightful 19 year old. Later, we read the first six chapters of Tideland, which I am happy to report is every bit as wonderful as Terry Gilliam's film version, though they are rather different approaches to the same story. The major difference so far is that while Gilliam's POV is clearly that of a child, Cullin's novel strikes me as a narrative written by an adult about events which occurred during childhood. Cullin may be joining the ranks of my favourite authors.

I've put a bunch of Concrete Blonde on my iPod. They were my favourite band from about 1991 until 1994 or so. I've hardly listened to Free or Bloodletting or Walking in London for ages now, as all these songs take me back to places I'd usually rather not recall. But. Now I'm listening. The music and lyrics hold up marvelously after all these years.

John Lennon, Doctor King, Harvey Milk —
And all for goddamn nothing.
God is a bullet. Have mercy on us everyone.

— Concrete Blonde, Free
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Yesterday I wrote 1,774 words, which isn't so bad. Better than "That'll do pig." Still, that number, two more words and it might have been mistaken for some bizarre act of patriotism. Blah, blah, blah. I've been at this two solid weeks now, the 1,500+ words every day and no days off for good behaviour thing. It's not so very different from prison, I would imagine.

Despite the remarkable weather, there wasn't time for a daylit walk yesterday. And walks after dark, they seem too much like someone I used to be. Our high today is supposed to be 69F*, last I checked, but then the cold and wet comes back. Weather like that is good for little but writing. So I must get out for an hour or so today, even if it means a lower word count. Because we're in for a week and a half or so of highs in the 50s, lows in the 30s, drizzle and clouds — ugh. Anything else about yesterday? I signed a box full of signature sheets for Tales from the Woeful Platypus, finishing up about 10 p.m. (CaST) only to remember that the mail isn't running today, so I can't get them back to subpress until tomorrow.

Oh, I also got a PDF galley for Subterranean Magazine #6, which includes my sf story "Zero Summer" (formerly known as "Night"). I have to make time to proof it it sometime this week. I like this story a lot. It's a piece I wrote during the bleak and dismal summer of 2005. The title comes from T. S. Eliot's "Four Quartets." I also did the three illustrations (photomontage) which accompany the story.

Today would be a good time to order Daughter of Hounds or snag a copy at your local bookshop, if you've not done so already. Thanks.

Late last night, as we were getting ready for bed, I began to ramble on about the coming year, what I will and won't be writing. Dinosaurs of Mars and Joey LaFaye. Those are definite "wills." Also, I began thinking about the next two collections. Likely, they will not be finished before 2008, but they are taking shape in my mind. The sf collection, which I was going to call A is for Alien, as an homage to Bradbury, until I learned Neil will be titling a book M is for Magic as a tribute to Bradbury. Now I'm thinking that the sf collection will be called, maybe, Rumors of a Strange Universe, but that's way, way subject to change. The other book will be dark fantasy stories and might be called Worse Things Yet*, a title I've been sitting on for years.

Okay. I gotta wake up. Somehow. Coffee's a start.

* In point of fact, the temperature has reached 70F (as of 6:39 p.m. CaST).

** A nod to Manly Wade Wellman's Worse Things Waiting (1973), of course.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Yesterday, I did 1,781 words. And if that's not getting back on the horse, I don't know what is.

[ profile] curt_holman's Creative Loafing interview is out. If you're in the Atlanta area, you can read the hard-copy version, though the online version is quite a bit longer.

And the signature sheets for Tales from the Woeful Platypus just arrived. Thump, on my porch. Because the UPS guy can't be bothered. So, I'll have to get to those sometime today or tomorrow and get them back to subpress. There are still copies of the trade hardback available, at this writing.

Sometimes people do very nice things. For example, a reader who wishes to remain anonymous, and so to whom I shall refer simply as the "kindly but anonymous ichthyologist," wrote yesterday afternoon to ask if, in light of the theft of Spooky's iBook, I had any use for a spare 13" G3 500MHz iBook, with a 15GB hard drive and 512 MB ram. I admitted that it would be enormously helpful at this point, and it will be arriving here on Friday (which is tomorrow, I see). I am left somewhat speechless at such generosity and wish the kindly but anonymous ichthyologist had allowed me to thank herhimit by name. Now, we can get back to work on the website redesign and get the eBay auctions going again and attend to other things that have been being ignored. Thank you, kindly but anonymous ichthyologist.

Someone in the U.K. asked yesterday about the availability of Daughter of Hounds in Britain. As there is no British edition, the best I can suggest is online ordering. You may acquire it from, for example, by following this link. Otherwise, it might turn up in some bookshops, here and there.

I would like to ask, at this point, that if you have purchased and read Daughter of Hounds and if you enjoyed it, that you please, please spread the word, in whatever way you might. Recommend it to a friend or family member (but make them buy their own copy). Mention it on your LJ or blog. At this point, every little bit helps. Give copies as belated Xmas/Solstice/whatever gifts. Ask your library to get a copy. I have never before felt so certain that the remainder of my career as a novelist depends upon the sales of a particular book. I thank you, for whatever you may do.

Last night, we watched Neil Burger's The Illusionist, adapted for the screen from Steven Millhauser's short story "Eisenheim, the Illusionist." And I found it delightful and beautiful. The cast was superb — Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Rufus Sewell, Jessica Biel & etc. The cinematography, with its muted palette and gaslight flicker, was perfection. As was the Philip Glass score. This is one of those 2006 films I wish I could have caught in the theatre, as it was certainly one of the better films of the year. Later, we read more of Christopher Priest's The Prestige, which kept us up until 2 a.m.

The platypus insists I stop journalizing now and get to work. Venomous spurs have been bared, so I must obey. But...there is a photo (behind the cut), just Hubero in a sunbeam, something of yesterday worth remembering.

Mr. H. P. Wu )
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The comments to the last entry were much appreciated. Though I think the idea for that novel first occurred only as an angry, vengeful rant, by the time I crawled away to bed last night (4 a.m. CaST), I'd started looking at it much more seriously. If nothing else, it is a safe place where I can pour all my frustration and anger and spite for humanity. Better than going postal with a pointy stick or turning the violence inwards upon myself (my usual strategy).

I started thinking, the story will likely begin a few centuries after the aliens have completed their clensing of the planet. The central character would be an unsuspecting human girl, a teenager who has been befriended by one of the aliens. The aliens would be something completely non-humanoid. insectile, perhaps. This girl lives on the African preserve where humans have been allowed to survive, co-existing with other wildlife and getting by with only the most rudimentary sort of tech (stone tools, at best). All memories of the World Before have been lost. It would seem to the reader, at first, as though we are looking at the Earth in the latest Pleistocene, not the Holocene. These would seem like pre-agricultural humans, hunter-gatherers surrounded by elephants and giraffes and zebra and so forth, who have been visited by an alien civilization. But then this girl is befriended, and the alien teaches her things, and she begins to learn about the purge. She is eventually given access to historical records. This way, it becomes more a novel about the consequences and cultural evolution and conflicts than a space opera about alien invasion. These are, of course, only the most initial ideas. All is yet in flux, back there in my head where stories slowly, slowly take shape. My agent will tell me that there's no money to be made these days in publishing "literary sf" (she's told me that before), but I might just write it, anyway. I feel like it's a book that I need to write, and these days I feel that need all too infrequently.

Today was my first productive day since Tuesday. It has been a black and futile week. An ugly week. The deep trough between the towering waves which bear we forward. Here I cannot afford to lose even a single day, and this morning I had to sit down and mark three full days L. I do not know for sure what dragged me down this time. I never do know for sure. I strongly suspect that proofing Low Red Moon — rearranging those deck chairs — played a role. But it "had" to be done, or I'd have just had to deal with all that nasty regret. Now, at least I know the book that comes out in August will be better than the version released in 2003. And I suspect the nightmares and insomnia played a large role, as well. On Monday, I go back on the damned Ambien. Anyway, I've already canceled plans to see my family in Alabama on the 23rd-24th, to help make up for those three lost days.

The most productive thing about yesterday was an hour or so I spent tinkering with Second Life. I couldn't get very far in my investigations, however, as my iBook's OS is too antiquated to run the requisite software. Once a certain publisher sees fit to finally pay me, there will be a new Mac in Casa de Kiernan y Pollnac, and I won't be limping along on OS 10.2.6 any longer. I can play with the big kids again. Anyway, the thing with Second Life, it's actually research for the piece I started writing today for Sirenia Digest 13 (December), an sf story called "The Path of Silence." Though I'm intrigued by these attempts at creating cyber-environments, I am appalled that they are all so goddamned obsessed with commerce. Linden dollars and the buying of virtual land, the paying of taxes on that virtual land. Shopping in virtual malls, even. What the frell? Isn't there enough tedium in the real world? Is this the best humans can do in their fantasies? Shop? Spend pretend money? Are the masses really that imagination deprived? I'm sure there's more to Second Life than that, but the commercial/capitalist aspect seems awfully front and goddamned center. That shit interests me about as much as fantasy football. Leave the mundane behind, people. It'll still be there when you have to come back.

I believe that the Immaculate Order of the Falling Sky is adopting -H as it logo, in opposition of the singularitarian, transhumanist use of >H and H+.

I wrote 1,101 words this afternoon on "The Path of Silence." Spooky and I had a walk, as it was very warm and sunny, and I'd not set foot outside this dismal house since Wednesday. I read William Gibson's "The Winter Market," which is one of my very favourite sf stories.

All 274 copies of the numbered state of Tales from the Woeful Platypus have, at this point, sold out at Subterranean Press. But there are still copies of the cloth-bound trade hardcover ($20) available.

Also, please have a look at the eBay auctions. These are genuinely unique items. I know Xmas is not the best time to be eBaying (actually, Poppy says it's an excellent time for eBay), but I already explained about the belated check, etc. I really want to see the green-haired boy go to a good home. I'm going to try to list some other items tomorrow, once the writing's done.

As all the gloom began to lift last night, I did get in a couple hours of Final Fantasy XII. Fran, Penello, Ashe, and Co. made their way through the Stilshrine, found the lair of the beautiful Mateus the Corrupter, and kicked her butt. We'll, since she's sort of mermaid-like, maybe it would be more accurate to say we kicked her tail. Either way, we prevailed. Sure beats virtual shopping and paying virtual land taxes.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie2)
The sort of nightmares that came this morning, the sort that leave me dreamsick and ill-rested, I think that I've called them spectacular in previous entries. This is not inaccurate, in that they surely present spectacle.

There was too much work yesterday, all day and well into the night. I wrote 1,018 words. Spooky did a very complicated photo for the website redesign, then did some work on it in PhotoShop, only to discover I'd left a crucial element out of the composition, so it has to be reshot today. Then we went back to proofreading Low Red Moon for the mmp edition due out in August and made it through Chapter Ten ("The Pool of Tears") and Chapter Eleven ("Lullaby") — pp. 206-263 in the Roc tpb.

Actually, we had a long walk late in the afternoon, almost dusk, before the proofreading started. Back to Freedom Park, west past the wax-myrtle bushes all the way to Freedom Parkway, then north and east, following North Ave. back towards home. The weather was warm, 65F, and I could walk in a tank top. But it was determined that North Ave. at "rush hour" is not suitable for walking, as the fumes from automobiles cannot possibly help but negate any healthful benefits. Spooky and I made chili for dinner, with lots of lime and Jose Cuervo Especial.

As we near the end of Low Red Moon, the deck chairs thing isn't bothering me quite as much. No doubt, it's still just as true, but I think I've allowed myself to become more caught up in the story and the characters instead of dwelling on the futility of hoping for a wider readership. In this book more than anything else I've ever written, there are moments when the brutality of the events in the novel — the brutality of that fictional history — leaves me feeling oddly ashamed and angry with myself. One of those little voices in my head, not so different from Narcissa's ghosts, murmurs, It didn't have to be like that. It could have gone differently. But I know that's a lie. Or, rather, I know that if I'd dodged the truth of the story I was telling, I'd have written a lie, a deeper lie than the superficial lie of all fiction. Be true to the story, not your conscience. Be true or get a job flipping burgers. Truth is the only thing I have to offer at the end of the day. My truths. They will not always be the same as your truths. Reading yesterday, I kept seeing all these "unrealised realities," how it all might have gone, how it might have been less brutal, if I'd simply allowed myself to lie about the whole thing.

I think there may still be a few copies of the limited edition of Tales from the Woeful Platypus available, but I'm not sure. I expect they'll all be gone by the end of this week, at the latest.

When the work was finally done, we watched the first part of the Sci-Fi Channel's mini-series, The Lost Room. It was better than what I'd expected. What I'd expected was the sort of thing Vertigo's publishing these days. It's a little bit better than that. The influence of House of Leaves is everywhere, right down to the rumbling growl we hear each time the door to room is opened or shut, each time it "resets." And I'm pretty sure that Elle Fanning is Dakota's clone. I'm left wondering how many Fanning's will follow. Perhaps there will be one available when the Dancy movie is finally cast. Anyway, we'll be watching the rest of The Lost Room. It has promise. I'm just hoping the ending lives up to the premise. I'm hoping, if there must be resolution at the end, the writers came up with something that will actually surprise me. I'm not usually like that. I don't often ask for originality and tend to feel that the quest for novelty is one of the less endearing traits of science fiction literature and film. But in this case, I know there will be more explanation of the phenomenon than is called for, so it better be some revelation that's worth the spoiling of a perfectly good mystery. In fact, that could be my rule of thumb for resolution in dark fantasy and sf: if there must be resolution and explanation, it must be something worth its weight in mystery. Most times, I'd be content with the mystery (as in House of Leaves, for example).

Okay. The day isn't going to get started until I end this entry. So —
greygirlbeast: (Fran7)
I've learned from Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press that, as of this morning, the limited, leather-bound edition of Tales from the Woeful Platypus has very nearly sold out. This edition consists of 274 numbered copies, and only 25 of those now remain. So, if you want the limited, you probably should pre-order now. It includes an extra story, "Excerpt from Memoirs of a Martian Demirep ", and comes with the chapbook version of The Black Alphabet.

I do not suffer from chronic migraines. These days, they hit me hard once every month or two. Unfortunately, today was one of those rare days. I woke with it, and it's still here.

No writing today, just proofreading. We made it through chapters Seven ("Forests of the Night"), Eight ("Proverbs of Hell"), and Nine ("In Caverns of the Grave") of Low Red Moon (pp. 140-205 of the Roc tpb). So, today is merely a W, but tomorrow, I suspect, will be an X.

I've been listening to David Bowie's Outside (1995) quite a lot lately, and as a result I believe that a new alter-ego is forming — Algeria Touchshriek — presently only a shapeless, sleeping thing lodged somewhere at the outermost edge of my consciousness. I am not sure who or what sheheit may become. I suppose that, in the fullness of time, we shall see.

Long months now have I searched for a simple litmus test that would demonstrate what I knew to be true (and I know that was very unscientific of me), that LiveJournal is loads cooler than MySpace. Last night's entry yielded just such a test. LiveJournal recognizes katakana, while MySpace does not. Case closed. Which reminds me, something's gone awry with my ability to crosspost to Blogger. It's been several days now. I try and get these weird "no such file or directory" error messages that I can't makes heads or tails of. I suspect there's some incompatibility between my OS and the new Blogger, but it might be something else. Anyway, sadly, as I do not intend to invest a great deal of time in solving the mystery, this likely spells the end of the mirror at Blogger. I just wish there were a way I could let those who read this journal from Blogger know. It hardly helps to post the news here or at (the inferior) MySpace. Ah, well.

Spooky had some messed up dream this morning, in which select residents of Bikini Bottom were members of the Lovecraft's mythos. She wandered around all morning muttering the eldritch tidings of Spongebob Cthulhupants. I don't know where she gets this stuff. Really.

Last night we watched John A. Davis' The Ant Bully (2006). Truthfully, I was not yet over the bitter tatse that Monster House had left in my mouth, plus I could not help but wonder if the world really needed a third CGI movie about ants (the first two being Antz and A Bugs Life). The answer is a resounding yes. Indeed, The Ant Bully will probably end up on my list of favourite films from this year. It was quite delightful. The voice acting was superb, but what really nailed it was the art direction, creature design, and animation. It was beautiful, and it rocked, and it went a long ways towards lifting my spirits. Afterwards, Spooky read to me from Chapter One ("An Unexpected Party") of The Hobbit. I first read The Hobbit when I was in fifth grade, way back in 1975.

The weather was warmer today. Not a lot, but just enough. We took a short walk along the north edge of Freedom Park, and Spooky located several wax-myrtle bushes (Myrica cerifera), and now she's talking about making bayberry candles. and I learned quite a lot about the Family Myricaceae.

I've noted that comments seem to have fallen off now that I'm doing evening posts. Of course, I have only noted a correlation, not demonstrated a casual connection.
greygirlbeast: (Fran6)
Poking about the web yesterday, I came very unexpectedly upon a review of Silk and Murder of Angels at, the two books reviewed together. A right grand review, at that, which I'd never before seen, even though it was posted October 8th, 2004. Someone who — mostly — gets it, and the review is intelligent and insightful. Being described as "H.P. Lovecraft's spiritual granddaughter" made me smile for hours, even though I suspect I'd probably scare the bejesus out of poor old H. P. ("At least," says Spooky.) By the way, my offer of free signed copies of the tpb of Silk still stands for any new Sirenia Digest the way.

Today, I begin an experiment in which my usual morning post is replaced by an evening post. Here's the deal. There's so goddamn much work right now, the only hope I have of having time left to walk and exercise during the day is to bump the blog entry to the evening. And exercise I must. So, we'll see how this works out. But it's only temporary. I'm gonna go back to morning entries sometime this spring, at the very latest.

I wrote 1,188 words yesterday, and 1,341 today. Then Spooky and I spent the rest of the afternoon getting started on the proofreading of Low Red Moon for the mass-market paperback. We made it through the prologue and chapters One and Two. I had forgotten how much I love this book. At this point, it's my second favorite of my novels, after Daughter of Hounds. I do hope that this new edition (the third since 2003!), gives it another shot and a wider readership. Many typos and errors will be corrected in the text. Also today I dealt with the last bit of Tales from the Woeful Platypus, which is no longer mine to deal with. It's out of my hands now. Which is a relief. That's one thing off my plate.

In the comments to Tuesday's entry regarding my reworking of Wicca, my use of the Sindarin word sigil rather than the "traditional" athame for the black-handled ritual dagger, someone noted the parallel with the English word sigil and all its connotations (some of which I admit I find annoying, because of chaos magick's use of the word). Today, I recalled the name Sigel, which, despite spelling differences, is actually closer to a genuine homonym of the Sindarin sigil ("see-geel"). Sigel is the Old English incarnation of the Norse sun goddess Sól, which actually works out very nicely. I'm sure Tolkien must have been aware of this parallel.

Someone else asked what I thought would be left when I'd finished purging Wicca of all Gardner's Judeo-Xtian elements. Which is a good question. The answer is likely complex, though I might, for the time, say "Very little, I suspect." Indeed, so little will likely remain that I shall have to abandon the name Wicca in favour of something else. A lot of the elements in question are not only to be found in Wicca, but in NeoPaganism, in general. The pentagram or pentacle, for example. That's not a pagan symbol. Though it is not impossible to imagine that some Celtic or Norse or Eastern European architect or proto-mathematician might have stumbled upon this geometric configuration, it comes to Wicca directly from ceremonial magick, Freemasonry, the Order of the Golden Dawn, etc. Instead, I am employing a simple circle to define "sacred" ritual space. Many other basic elements of Wicca have already been discarded — calling to the four quarters, for example, another thing which Gardner borrowed from ceremonial magick. And the "Rede," which likely comes to Wicca via Aleister Crowley's formulation of the Laws of Thelema. The "Three Fold Law" seems more like a weird marriage of Buddhism and Xtianity than anything else, and is a concept which I find fundamentally absurd (for reasons discussed in earlier entries). Likewise, I have no use for Wicca's obsession with gender duality, which is, at best, dated and rendered irrelevant by transgenderism and over-population and a number of other things. At worst, it is sexist, homophobic, and skewed towards the cisgendered. The system which will work for me must regard gender not as a duality, but as a continuum.

So, as you can see, it looks less and less like Wicca all the time. I am keeping many of the ritual tools — the black-handled dagger (as mentioned above), the chalice (as it has mythic resonance beyond the Xtian "grail"), the cauldron, the broom, the altar stone, and so forth. In the end, this is about my belief that a) NeoPaganism should not be infused at every turn with Judeo-Xtian elements, b) that a Nature religion should be a Nature religion, reflecting the complexities of the natural world instead of outmoded human dualisms, and c) the belief that while a NeoPagan may reach back for myth and tradition and history, sheheit must also reach ahead. As I've said before, we need a paganism for the 21st Century, not the 17th or 5th.

We shall see where all this leads. Comments and feedback is welcome on all these points, by the way.

I'm still giving Heroes a chance. The last couple of episodes have hooked me again, as they have seemed less bland, less televisiony. Maybe I just have a crush on Hiro.

Oh! I almost forgot. I got Zoe, which pleases me immensely.

What Firefly Character Are You?

Zoe Alleyne
Above all things, you're tough. You're also very private and prefer to keep your personal life just that. You know what to do to get the job done, and can always be counted on. You may not have much of sense of humor, but you're strong, reliable, and loyal.
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by
greygirlbeast: (Fran4)
I am at this moment exceedingly groggy, though I've been awake now for more than an hour. I did get about seven and a half hours sleep last night, which is much better than my average.

If all my days were like yesterday I surely would give up this writing thing and become a bartender. I wrote 2,264 words (3,324 if you count the blog entry), which is about the best I can ever expect from any single day. I also had to deal with last minute corrections to the galleys of Tales from the Woeful Platypus and the cover copy for Low Red Moon. I'm sure there were other things as well, but I'm too groggy to recall them all. I was still working at 12:12 a.m. (CaST), when I finally decided enough's enough and called it a day.

Sissy ([ profile] scarletboi) and Spooky ([ profile] humglum) have been working on the new website design. There's a temp front page up right now. You should have a look. I like what they're doing with the place. By the way, the Whitman's Salmagundi tin in the photograph was a gift from Poppy ([ profile] docbrite) in 1996 (?autumn). To quote from an old interview I did sometime in 2000:

Poppy Z. Brite sent me one of the original [1920s] tins, which she'd come across in a Magazine Street antique store [in New Orleans]. She bought it for me, even though she had no idea whatsoever that I'd used Salmagundi as a character or that the box had any significance to me. It sort of freaked us both out just a little, I think. Anyway, I guess that's not so much who Salmagundi Desvernine is, as the inspiration behind her, isn't it? Doug Winter has called her my 'avatar,' which is partly true. Like Jimmy DeSade (another recurring character and Salmagundi's consort), she's a focal point for certain ideas. But she's also a character I care about a great deal, that I think of first as a person. To me, Salmagundi is something beautiful and strong that the world has lost or given up, like faith and hope, something that we're not likely to see again.

By the way, anyone who subscribes to Sirenia Digest today, any time before midnight (PST), will receive a free signed copy of the trade paperback edition of Silk. All you gotta do is click here, read the somewhat out of date FAQ (the stories are longer; it comes on or about the 21st of each month, not the 14th), then subscribe.

I continue to try to take Wicca apart and rebuild it, reconstruct it, making of it something more suited to my needs (at least until something better comes along). Part of this is the systematic expurgation of those many elements in Wicca which Gerald Gardner borrowed from Judeo-Xtian mysticism, specifically from the Ordo Templi Orientis, Rosicrucianism, and Freemasonry. All this stuff would be fine, if I wanted to study ceremonial magick or the Golden Dawn. But I do not believe it has any place in paganism. For example, for the time being I'm still using the "black-handled knife" of Gardner's Wicca, but I'm choosing never to refer to it as an athame, a term which can be traced back to The Key of Solomon, where the black-handled knife is referred to variously as arthanus, artamus, and (most tellingly) arthame, depending on the ms. copy in question. Instead, I'm using the Sindarin word sigil (= dagger or knife; pronounced "see-geel"), as Tolkien's mythos resonates with me much more strongly than does Judeo-Xtian mythology (despite Tolkien's own Xtianity). Indeed, ultimately, I may use Sindarin as my ritual language. All this may seem like "mere" semantics, but words are magick, after all, in that words carry powerful conscious and unconscious connotations. If magick is truly the "art of changing consciousness at will," then I would argue that the precise words involved, and all their connotations, are of the utmost importance. And as all mythologies are equally fictional (and therefore equally "true"), it hardly matters if I draw upon terms gleaned from Hebrew mysticism, ancient Greece, the Elder Edda, or The Silmarillion, excepting in that these different mythologies have very different subjective meanings to me.

As with most of the country, the weather here has turned bitter cold. I did not even leave the house yesterday. I think the low last night was 26F, and the forecast is calling for even colder temperatures tonight.

Okay. That's it for now. The platypus is looking askance, and that's never good.


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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