greygirlbeast: (sol)
I awoke about nine p.m., hot and sweaty and sick from having taken a Valium and two Sonata, but then only slept five hours. I awoke to relive, it seems, an especially grotesque day from October 1990.

It's just me, or it's everyone, or it's only some people, but even after forty-seven years, I've no idea whatsoever.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,236 words on a new vignette, "The Granting Cabinet."

I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to keep up these journal entries during Readercon. Back in March, I promised myself I'd make an entry every day for six months. But I'm not about to pay the hotel's exorbitant charge for internet access, so I really have no idea how I'm going to make it happen. Not that anyone much still reads LJ – they're all too busy with the easy, instant gratification and minimal compositional prerequisites of Twitter and Facebook – but it's important to me, if only because it's a promise I made to me.

Maybe I'll spend the day lying on the kitchen floor. The view from there isn't so bad.

Here are the photos from Saturday that I'd wanted to post yesterday.

9 July 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (sol)
I listen to R.E.M. a lot, and it will always be the music of Athens, GA, though I actually first discovered their music in Boulder, CO many, many years before I moved to Athens.

Spooky says I'm homesick. I'm not sure she's correct. But maybe it's something akin to homesickness.

---

I find myself needing to be tactful, though, no matter how hard I may try, I am never the most tactful of beasts. I get a lot of requests from aspiring writers, requests for me to read their work and/or offer advice on how they can become better writers, find an agent, find a publisher, and so forth. I can't answer all of these requests personally. Not one at a time, I mean. So, I'm answering the most recent batch personally here. And it's a short answer. Or a short set of answers. Truthfully, I can't help you. It's been nineteen years since I began my first novel, and eighteen since I sold my first short story, and sixteen since my first fiction publication, fifteen since I finished Silk, and fourteen years since I sold my first novel. It's been sixteen years since I got my my first agent. Now, the point of all those 'teens is that during the intervening years, publishing has changed, and it's changed in ways I only just begin to understand. For example, I used to type query letters, mail them (in an envelope with a stamp and an SASE enclosed, from an actual post office), and wait weeks for a reply. Back then, books were either paper or recorded on cassette (a few books-on-CD recordings were popping up). I could give a lot more "for examples." But, what's even more important than the changes that have been wrought upon the publishing industry is the simple fact that I'm not a writing instructor, and only a critic in the roughest sense. Sure, you could show me a story, and I could tell you whether or not I liked it. But, for the most part, that's useless to you. My opinion on any given piece of fiction is mostly subjective (aside from correcting grammar and so forth). I might love it. I might think it's a load of shit. A lot of what I think is shit sells like hotcakes, and a lot of what I think is brilliant can't sell for shit. And that should tell you everything you need to know, right there. Finally, I simply don't have time to read your work, not if I'm going to get my own writing done and have some semblance of a life in between. So...I hope you'll accept these answers, and understand them.

---

I'm trying very hard to get myself back into the head-space that will allow me to finish Blood Oranges. But it's not going well. I tried to read Chapter Four aloud on Friday night, and I only made it a few pages in. The reasons are complex. My instinct is to shelve the manuscript and move on to the next project. But that would be ridiculous, if only because the novel is half finished. And it was coming so quickly before this wall.

We fall, or are knocked down, and we get up again. Or we stop calling ourselves writers.

---

Yesterday, Spooky and Sonya and I escaped the broiling confines of the house, and endured truly horrendous touron traffic to cross the Western Passage of Narragansett Bay to Conanicut Island. Beavertail was dazzling. The sea off the west side of the point was such a dazzling blue gem it might have blinded me. Not my eyes, but other portions of my self in need of blinding. There's been far too much stress, lately. Stress I am ill equipped to cope with. There were more people at Beavertail than I'm used to seeing, but it was still easy to find a relatively secluded bit of phyllite jutting out into the bay on which to spread our blanket. About a hundred yards to the north, a flock of cormorants perched on the rocks. Occasionally one would streak away, skimming just over the surface of the sea. Or one would dive in and fish. There were gulls and robins and red-winged black birds. We fed a gull a cheese cracker. Just north of us was a rowdy lot of college kids, swimming and drinking beer and using watermelon rinds as hats. Spooky and I lay on the blanket. Sonya waded in. We weren't able to stay even nearly long enough, especially considering the the traffic there and back, and how hot sitting in the traffic was (the loaner car has no AC), but Sonya had a 6:27 p.m. train back to Boston. Amazingly, neither Kathryn nor I are sunburned (we did use sunscreen, but still).

Back home, Spooky and I had tuna for dinner. We watched more of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and our Faeblight Rift toons reached level 18. It was a quiet evening, and we mostly managed not to sweat.

I think I'm going to spend the next couple of days sweating and writing something for Sirenia Digst #68.

There are photos from yesterday, but Earthlink is all whack-a-doodle, so I'll have to try to post them tomorrow.

No Sea, So Less Calm Than Yesterday,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
A crazy, crazy morning. Too many emails and phone calls. But now I'm going to try to calm down and write a blog entry.

Yesterday, I didn't get a lot of work done. I only managed to copy edit two stories in The Five-Chambered Heart, "The Bed of Appetite" and "Untitled 31." The latter will have an actual title in the collection, though I don't yet know what it'll be. It's great to proofread the newer stuff I've written, because, mostly, I'm still in love with it, and I make virtually no changes to the text.

My thanks to "Moto" in San Francisco, whose sending me a first-edition hardcover of Angela Carter's The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Remember when email was fast? When you wrote emails, and pretty much everyone responded to them quickly? And this was revolutionary? Lately, it's all iPhones and iPads. I know because it always says at the bottom from what sort of device the message was sent. Now, it seems people would rather speak by "texting." I'm sorry. I'm made the transition from "snail mail" to email in 1994. I'll not be doing it again (she says, knowing full well she will adapt, when it becomes an imperative).

A note to prospective and young writers: Be wary of editors a) offering 1¢/word who b) do not yet have a publisher for their anthology, c) want all sorts of electronic rights straight off, and d) despite the fact they have no publisher, already have a cover design and a marketing strategy involving selling the book as a PDF. Here, we have entered shady, sketchy territory.

Yesterday, as the heat inside mounted, we fled the house and (despite the questionable state of the car and the cost of gasoline) drove down to Moonstone Beach. Our first trip to the sea all summer! That's just...insane. As usual, Moonstone was pretty much free of tourons (you may know them as "tourists"), and we mostly had it to ourselves. I waded into the cold water up to my thighs, and it was wonderful. The sky was full of birds: cormorants (Phalacocorax spp.), both American and fish crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos and C. ossifragus, respectively), red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), chimney swifts (Chaetura pelagica), piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), grey catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis), and all manner of gulls. We made tiny cairns from granite and slate cobbles, and found those others had made earlier in the day. We stayed until about 6:30 p.m., and headed over to Narragansett for dinner at Iggy's (as a marvelous fog rolled in). I think we were back home by 8:45. It was an evening out I much needed. On the way down, and the way back up, I read Book 1 of The Stuff of Legend (written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, drawn by Charles Paul Wilson III). Brilliant comic.

I tried to play Rift for a bit, but got into some combination of a snit and a funk about the state of the guild and the game and players. My apologies to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus for yammering my dissatisfaction at him for an hour. But really. On the one hand, I love the potential of MMORPGs. But on the other hand, I often loathe what they actually are. In the hands of most players, an MMORPG is like watching someone shoot marbles* with a particle accelerator. That is the degree of potential being squandered. Anyway, I gave up about 11:30 and wandered away. I'm not saying this is something wrong with Rift (though, in fact, I have a short list of things that are wrong with Rift), but with the whole gamer mentality. Note: I am not a gamer. I am a roleplayer. The game aspect to me is, at very best, secondary. And, please note, I am on what is supposedly an rp shard. Ergo....

Yeah. Blah, blah, blah. Later, kittens.

Kicking Against the Pricks,
Aunt Beast

Wait. There are photos from yesterday:

28 June 2011 )


*I have no idea if kids still shoot marbles. Me, it was one of my favorite things as a child. It was a very important playground sport when I was in elementary school (1970-1975). Much of one's reputation was at stake.
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
Outside, it's 80F and feels like 81F. Inside, 80F. Balance, kiddos.

The last thing I recall saying before I fell asleep this morning is, "Only a dyke would have a crush on Charlie Brown." This is, in fact, a reference to Peppermint Patty. Let's just say I was very tired. Though, that's often when I speak the truth.

This morning, I dreamed I was in some weird sequel to Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space." Pretty much all detail is lost to me, but I can assure you it was not the least bit pleasant. The sense of uncleanliness, that it was unsafe to touch, drink, or eat anything, or even to breathe. It reminds me how "The Colour Out of Space" is a perfect parable for environmental degradation.

Yesterday was spent editing Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and the first four chapters Blood Oranges, finding as many errors in the latter as possible and correcting them. This afternoon, it goes to my agent. Booya. I now know that I'll write an introduction for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart called "Sexing the Weird." I'm going to ask another author to write an afterword, and I hope to include a lot of illustrations by Vince Locke

Couldn't sleep last night. When I can't sleep, neither can Spooky. So our insomnias align. She read me the first three sections of William Burroughs' Junky (which I've not read since the summer of 1994). Then she turned off the light, about 4:30 ayem. The sky had grown very bright, there on that shortest darkness of the year. I sat at the kitchen table eating leftover pasta salad and watching the dawn. Finally, the pills kicked in, and I crawled away to bed and sleep.

Happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] faustfatale!

Our thanks to Stephen Lubold for the latest care package: Brown Bird's EP "The Sound of Ghosts," and three books: Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and the first two volumes of Mike Raicht and Brian Smith's amazing The Stuff of Legend. As it happens, he also won yesterday's ARC auction.

Good Rifting and rping last night. Thanks to everyone! The guild grows.

And yes, it's Soltice, Midsummer, Lithia, Litha. It is a day that Kathryn and I observe. If you do likewise, I wish you a happy Litha. I won't say blessed. Not sure I believe much in blessings, and even if I did, I would be unable to bestow them. The wheel turns. The shortest night, tonight.

We'll go to this evening to observe the day. We've talked about staying at the shore all night, maybe watching the sunrise over Narragansett Bay. But first I have a lot of work to do.

Comments, kittens!

Traveling the Circumference,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Slowly, slowly, spring is coming to Providence. I try not to think how fast it must be coming on in Birmingham, and Atlanta, and Athens. Here, it comes slowly. And I am here, and, in all ways, that's better than my being in Birmingham, or Atlanta, or Athens. But the slow-coming spring, it's still odd and difficult, especially after a winter like the one we just had. The days are averaging 40sF, the nights 30sF or high 20sF, which actually seems warm. We can acclimate to almost anything.

The nice thing about knowing that virtually no one reads this blog is that I don't have to worry about whether or not I'm boring people.

Anyway, yesterday was warm. The official high in Providence was 71˚F, I think. As it was day one of the three-day vacation, we decided to drive to West Cove on Conanicut Island. It was very comfortable when we left the city, but there was a wind advisory, with gusts up to 50 mph. When we got out of the van at West Cove, it felt like the temperature was in the thirties, and I spent the first hour of beach combing shivering and trying to keep my hands from going numb. Then the sun came out, and the afternoon warmed. I was able to remove my gloves and unzip my coat. Yesterday, it will likely go down in the annals of West Cove days as the day I stepped on a dead, rotten, beached skunk. That was surely yesterday's most dramatic moment. I found two specimens of a pelecypod I've never seen in the cove before, Cerastoderma pinnulatum (the Small cockle). I found a few good bird bones, including another cormorant beak. We stayed until late, then headed back to the city.

On the way home, I watched the moon through my Orion 10x42 monocular. Of course, this weekend's moon is Big News, but it really was beautiful. I could identify so many landmarks: mountains, craters, basins, etc., all in reflected silver and shades of grey. We stopped by the market, and were home before dark.

There are photos from yesterday, below the cut (at the end of the entry).

---

I won't write about the post-novel depression, just now, and certainly not the whys of it. It only gets worse when you look directly at it, or speak its name.

There's always an odd sort of embarrassment when I see a review of an anthology, and the reviewer hated most of the book, but really loved my contribution. Case in point, a review of Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded at Green Man Reviews. The book reprints "The Steam Dancer (1896)," and the reviewer writes:

It’s a beautiful achievement, this story, a very human, rather squalid life offered for our perusal in terms that are neither sentimental nor cruel, managing an effect at once intimate and remote. Now there’s so much that’s peddled as artistic today simply because it’s depressing that I must stress that this tale is depressing, in a quiet sort of way… but that’s not what makes it art. What makes it art is the command of voice and personality Kiernan displays, the things she says and the things she leaves unsaid, and the fact that she can deliver this character-driven gem while still conjuring up a whole world of clanking, steam-driven marvels in the background, almost all through hints and allusions. This story lingers. I hope it gets a good deal of attention; it deserves to.

Okay, aside from the snarky, bizarre "so much that’s peddled as artistic today simply because it’s depressing" bit, very nice. I continue to believe "The Steam Dancer (1896)" is, in fact, one of my best stories.

Also, I've seen a review of The Ammonite Violin & Others by ST Joshi that I think will be appearing in Dead Reckonings (I think). Also, very flattering. A short excerpt:

Purely on the level of prose, Kiernan already ranks with the most distinctive stylists of our field—Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, Thomas Ligotti. With Ligotti’s regrettable retreat into fictional silence, hers is now the most recognizable voice in weird fiction. No one is ever likely to mistake a sentence by Caitlín R. Kiernan for a sentence by any other writer.

That ought to cheer me up, right? I know that it should. But...

---

Also, yesterday I read David H. Keller's "The Jelly-Fish" and F. Marion Crawford's "For the Blood is the Life." Neither was very good, but the latter was almost unreadable in its dullness. Also read, from the last JVP, "A new partial skeleton of a cryptocleidoid plesiosaur from the Upper Jurassic Sundance Formation of Wyoming" and "A possible azhdarchid pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Qingshan Group of Laiyang, Shandong, China."

Right. I'm not supposed to work today. That's the truth. I just don't know what I'm supposed to do, instead, to busy my restless, fretting mind.

Here are yesterday's photographs:

18 March 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
Just back from a day at the shore, but I'll write about that tomorrow, and there will be photos.

The post-novel depression hit full force while I was sitting there watching the sea. It's a couple of days overdue, but I was still writing even as the editing began, hence the delay. And here I am, back at that place where I want no one to read the novel. I sure as fuck don't want it read and reviewed and "reviewed" and have to watch the sales figures and all that shit.

And that sort of brings me to thing number next:

As we finish up Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay, the part of Katniss Everdeen has been cast for the forthcoming film/s. She will be played by Jennifer Lawrence. And yesterday Spooky alerted me to the great mewling outcry from the books' community of "fans." YA boards and communities were abuzz (and likely still are) with outraged cries of "racebending" and "whitewashing" and all sorts of other nonsense. I wish to state a few thoughts, which I'll put forth as bullet points, as this lamentable format seems so popular these days:

1) Race: Katniss Everdeen has dark hair and olive skin, yes. But she is Caucasian. Indeed, her mother and sister are blondes. Near as we are told, the people of the Seam are mostly, but not all, white. Peeta Mellark has blond hair. People of the Seam often have grey eyes. All this is hardly surprising given that it seems that District 12 is located somewhere in the West Virginia/Pennsylvania region of the Appalachians. So, cries that the casting is racist are...well...it makes me wonder if the people who read the book, you know, read the book. Let us wait to see how Rue is cast before we howl about "whitewashing."

2) Can Jennifer Lawrence play Katniss Eberdeen? How about this. Watch the trailer for Debra Granik's Winter's Bone:



Truthfully? You ask me, this looks like Lawrence having a trial run at playing Katniss. I say she's damn close to perfect.

3) Does the author approve of the casting choice? Yes, very much so. To quote AccessHollywood (there's a first in this blog):

In a statement released by the studio, Author Suzanne Collins and director Gary Ross expressed their excitement at having Jennifer join the cast.

“Jennifer’s just an incredible actress. So powerful, vulnerable, beautiful, unforgiving and brave. I never thought we’d find somebody this perfect for the role. And I can’t wait for everyone to see her play it,” Suzanne said.


Now, for my part, points one and two aside, this ought to shut all the naysayers the fuck up. It won't, of course, but it should. These books do no belong to the fans, not matter how devoted and no matter how much they might believe otherwise. They belong to the author, that person whose name follows the © symbol. Everyone else has the pleasure of reading the books, and may own copies, but the novels belong to the author. And if she's happy with the choice, that's good enough for me.

More and more, I realize there's this great mass of humans who squat in waiting on the internet, just waiting for an opportunity to be offended. The chance to whine and bellyache and point fingers and pull the holier-than-thou routine. And, usually, a chance to be utterly wrong. This is, of course, their right. But they're only embarrassing themselves.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
1) Warmish again today, fifties Fahrenheit, but the cold is about to come round again. At last a good bit of the snow has melted. The sun is bright today. Die, snow. Die.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, comment!

There are photos from yesterday:

17 February 2011 )


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

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

The sentiment remains the same, to the letter.

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

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

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

This would be a good day for comments.

There are photos, behind the cut:

13 February 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
This really needs to be short. Too much to do today, so that I can get back to The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and begin Chapter Four tomorrow.

---

Yesterday was, indeed, a day off, and we saw the Coen Bros. remake of True Grit (or perhaps we should say their adaptation, since both films have been based on Charles Portis' 1968 novel). And I was nothing but pleased. I actually almost cried at the end, in part because the Coen Bros. adhere much more closely to the novel's ending than did the original Henry Hathaway film (1969). Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges nail their roles, and are an absolute joy to watch. I'm too groggy to do anything but burble kindly adjectives, but it really is an excellent film. Beautiful cinematography. Wonderfully bleak soundtrack, including vocals by Iris DeMent. Yes, this goes on my list of best films of 2010, as I knew it would. Even though we had to see it in a freezing closet on a smallish screen. At least the screen was flat. All the good screens were given over to crap like Tron and Little Fockers (shudder). Never mind that True Grit is performing better at the box office than Tron. Anyway, yes. See True Grit, whether you like westerns or not.

Last night, we waded back into WoW (rather literally), and Shah and Suraa made a bid for Level 83. We fell a few bars short, but tomorrow's another day I'll squander on MMORPGs and all that rot. Having finished with Mount Hygal, we were shipped of the to sunken subcontinent of Vashj'ir. At first, being underwater and riding seahorses was a novelty, but it very quickly became tedious. I never would have imagined I wouldn't love a game set under the sea, but there you go. The quests are horridly repetitive, even by WoW standards. Kill nagas, find lost stuff, kill nagas, find lost stuff, rinse, repeat. But we'll see it through to the end. I just wish this section were as well designed, questwise, as was Mount Hygal. The environments are beautifully rendered, but...once you realize you can ride any mount at the bottom of the sea, well, it just all sort of gets too silly after that. Also, I was very disappointed that the Vashj'ir stuff begins as an expedition to thwart the Alliance, but immediately becomes this other thing instead.

---

A weird time for me right now. I have some fear that my meds aren't working, which means upping the dosage, which means more of the bad side effects and more expense. But when they work, they work, which is infinitely fucking better than before. And I'm slipping into one of those places where it becomes almost impossible to see any value in my own writing. Here are the hundreds of stories, all these novels, and have I done it right even once? I can hardly even make a living, and that might be fine if I could look at my writing and know that I've done a good job. Right now, I can't. Most times I can't. It's worse now than usual.

Sorry. Enough of that.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I'd thought today would be a day off. I've not left the house since last Sunday, and I'd planed to go to the shore today. But there are clouds, which there weren't supposed to be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fuck you, clouds.

Addendum (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] opalblack): For the children I will never have: The facts of life. This is brilliant.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday, I finished Study #2 for Yellow. I'll post photographs of it tomorrow. While I was working on this painting, I didn't let myself look at images of Study #1 for Yellow. So, I was sort of astounded when I finally did yesterday, and saw how much better the second painting is than the first. This one will go up on eBay, but I have a feeling I won't be offering another painting for a while. The next couple, I'm going to want to hang onto. It's not like selling a short story or a novel. You're not really giving anything away. These days, I don't even send an editor a hard copy of a manuscript. The paintings are solid, tangible, and they go away, and they're gone.

I emailed Vince notes about his illustration for "At the Reef" (to appear in Sirenia Digest #59).

Then we took advantage of what will likely be the last warm day this year. It was 74F Outside, so, we left the House and drove south and east to Conanicut Island and Beavertail. On the way down, we listened to Throwing Muses and I read two Thomas Ligotti stories, "Drink to Me Only With Labyrinthine Eyes" and "The Glamour." By the time we reached the shore, the sun was low. And it felt about twenty degrees cooler by the sea. The surf was unexpectedly rough, and there was an enormous fog bank rolling in from the east. We watched it swallow Newport and Aquidneck Island. It was neither grey nor blue, and moved swiftly over the water. We sat on the rocks and listened to the foghorn. There was a flock of cormorants drifting out beyond the breakers, and a few gulls perched on the boulders, eyeing the bay as though it had betrayed their expectations. A flock of eider ducks flew past. The air was salty and cold and I didn't want to come home.

There a photos below, behind the cut.

---

I'm wondering if I can "crowdsource" two relatively simple tattoos. Am I even using the portmanteau correctly? Anyway, I've been thinking, as I cannot currently afford the back and sleeve work I want done, I could settle for one word on each wrist. On my left would be the word House (in blue) and on my right wrist would be the word Tree (in red). Both would be inked in Courier. I'd probably have it done at Artfreek on Wickenden Street. Two words that have had such significance for me.

---

Tomorrow night, I will be reading (and signing) at the Brown University Bookstore on Thayer Street. Costumes optional. Reading starts at 6 p.m. You should come, if you can. I hate reading to empty rooms. I will probably be reading something from The Ammonite Violin & Others.

---

The platypus compels you to have a look at the current eBay auctions. Also, the platypus compels me to remind you that all the cool Halloween-related creations in Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop will go away on November 1st, so act now. The platypus is a compelling beast.

I think that's all for now. Except for the photographs. I have to write.

Last Warm Day, 28 October 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
And here it is Friday, and only seven days until we leave for Portland (and that's counting today). So things are getting weird and hectic. I've never been to Portland, but Spooky lived there for three years, 1996-1999, and has tremendous trepidation about returning. So, we're coping with that, too. But I am not a traveling writer. There seem to be so many traveling writers these days. By "traveling writer," I mean writers who spend a lot of time on business-related trips (i.e., workshops, conventions and conferences, expos, and book tours). I love to travel, if it's purely for the sake of traveling, but I'm really not one for writing-related travel (except in the sense that any given trip may inspire stories). So, this sort of thing is rare for me. And it makes me very anxious.

I also don't know how writers who spend so much time engaged in writer-travel get anything written. I wouldn't be able to get anything written.

I was wondering, the other night, why people seem resistant to the idea of writers having public personae. It's perfectly normal (and common) for actors and musicians. But with writers it seems to piss people off (including other writers), or at least annoy them. I sort of have a public persona. The person you see at a con isn't precisely the person I am in private. I found it necessary a long time ago, both to alleviate my anxiety about public appearances and because the person I am in private is terribly anti-social. So, for cons and signings and readings I have this other Caitlín persona I put on. I wear her (though she's changed over the years). Trust me, she's much nicer to be around.

---

Yesterday, I decided, we needed one last day off before the mad rush to the trip. One last day just for me and Spooky to be calm. So, about three p.m. we headed to Conanicut Island (the right way round), out to West Cove, our favorite beach for sea glass. When we arrived, there was a large group of scuba divers. It's a popular spot for scuba, but I'd never seen so many at once before. Most left shortly after we arrived, but some lingered in the cove, occasionally rising to the surface like strange aquatic hominids. The weather was good, warm and only a few clouds. We found some good glass, but some really spectacular bones. West Cove is also a good bone beach, mostly bird bones. Yesterday, I we found an assortment of wings bones and vertebrae from cormorants, gulls, and other birds, and I also found a spectacular gull jaw, complete with yellow-orange keratin sheath. Really gorgeous. I also found three bones I'm fairly certain belong to a seal, which is a first.

I've often imagined, while at West Cove, carrying out a weird sort of "future paleontology" study there. I mean, imagining what the sandy, pebbly deposits there would be like ten or fifteen million years from now. And trying to reconstruct the local fauna, assuming the bones I'm finding would be preserved as fossils. A diverse avifauna would dominate the assemblage, with lots of fish and very rare mammals.

Yeah, I'm a science nerd.

Anyway, we stayed until it was almost dark, and the tide was coming in. We watched two mallards, and a sad sort of sea gull that seemed to be following them around. We tried to decided if a cross between a gull and a mallard would be called a "gulk" or a "dull." We finally, reluctantly, headed back to the van about six-thirty p.m. I wanted to stay all night, listening to the lapping waves and watching the sky and hearing the birds. There are photos, at the end of this entry, behind the cut.

Oh, I read Richard Bowes' short story, "Knickerbocker Holiday" (from Haunted Legends), on the way down to the island.

---

I think I have to do an interview for Weird Tales before we leave.

---

In all this discussion of eReaders, one thing in particular strikes me as absurd. And I'm honestly not trying to pick on anyone, I'm just being honest. What strikes me as especially absurd are the people who tell me they absolutely could not live without their Kindle or Nook or whatever. They are fervent in this claim, and I assume they truly believe what they're saying. I'm just not sure they've thought very much about what they're saying. I mean, they got along just fine without these devices a year or two or three ago, right? And now they can't live without them? I kind of have to assume this is hyperbole, that they're very enthusiastic and overstating their case. Because, otherwise, it's absurd, and I like to think people aren't absurd (though clearly most are).

I think about recently acquired tech that is very dear to me. Say, my iPod (I'm still using a sturdy old fossil of an iPod from early 2005). Or my very low-tech mechanical pencils. Or the PlayStation 3. Our digital cameras. Or certain programmes, like Second Life and World of Warcraft. These things are dear to me, to varying degrees, and I use them a lot. But can I live without them? Sure. I did just fine before they came along. So, it's hard for me to imagine these eReader users keeling over from shock or wasting away if they were ever suddenly deprived of their Nooks. Or Kindles. Or whatever.

When they say, "I can't live without my eReader," they must surely mean, "I don't want to live without my eReader," or even "I can't imagine living without my eReader."

Rarely does it help an argument to overstate your case.

---

At Eastside Market, I saw a book with the excruciatingly embarrassing title Wuthering Bites, and a cover that was clearly meant to look like one of the Twlight covers. And the book's exactly what it sounds like, Emily Bronte's novel rewritten with vampires. Can we please stop doing this? It was never very funny, and at this point these parodies seem like parodies of parodies. Which is to say the gimmick is on beyond tired. Stop milking it. Please.

---

I almost forgot, there's a very nice review of The Ammonite Violin and Others at The San Francisco Book Review (review by Ariel Berg). I love this bit: "Those whose imaginations flourish best in the dark will find a great deal to love in The Ammonite Violin."

Okay. Here are the photos. I need to get to work, and Spooky has to go to the post office.

23 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Last night I got to sleep at the very decent hour of 3 ayem (though not so decent, I admit, as 2 ayem). And then, for no reason I have been able to discern, I awoke at 7 ayem, and couldn't get back to sleep. I finally gave up and got out of bed at 8:30 ayem. And then I set about doing something with the two and half hours until Spooky would get up. I rearranged and dusted a bookshelf. I downloaded Gimp, to replace Photoshop 7 (rendered useless by the OS X 10.6.3 upgrade). I doodled (monsters and dinosaurs). I dusted ( a little). I read. I chewed Rolaids. And the time passed like cold molasses.

And I am not awake.

I've made a list of everything I have to get done in September. I have to write and produce Sirenia Digest #58. I have to write my story for Jeff and Ann VanderMeer's The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. I have to make a trip to NYC to meet with my editor, agent, and to visit with Peter Straub. All the paperwork for my passport renewal went away to Philadelphia yesterday, and I found the form a thoroughly harrowing experience. But at least it's done now, and that's part of my preparation for the trip to Portland, Oregon at the end of the month for the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon. Oh, and since I'm Guest of Honor, I need to write a fifteen-minute keynote address. I also need to make some serious headway editing Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume One) for Subterranean Press. That's what I have to do in September.

And to do all that stuff, I have to be able to sleep.

---

As for yesterday, we didn't get up until noon thirty, as I've mentioned, and by the time I'd finished answering email, it was 3:30 p.m. The day Outside was so inviting, I said fuck it, and we drove down to Moonstone Beach. The surf was much rougher than usual for Moonstone, and the beach was covered with cobbles and pebbles fetched up by Hurricane Earl. We only found two pieces of beach glass, neither of which was worth keeping. We watched at least three species of gull: Herring gulls (Latrus argentatus), Great Black-backed gulls (L. marinus), and Ring-billed gulls (L. delawarensis). Spooky spotted a fourth and smaller species, but was unable to identify it. There were Double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) and a few Piping plovers (Charadrius melodius). I found an old brick and considered bringing it home for my brick collection (yes, I have a brick collection, as impractical as that may sound, which I have been gathering since 1989). Instead, I gave it back to the sea.

A small and rather battered looking sailboat was anchored maybe a hundred yards off shore, in the choppy, shallow water. It rolled precariously. I watched through the binoculars, but could see no sign of anyone aboard, and thought briefly about calling the Coast Guard. There was a big three-wheeled bike lashed to the bow. The tide was advancing, and as it rose, the waves grew higher, some three or four feet high (I think six inches is probably average for Moonstone). The beach began to grow very misty.

As the sun was setting, we headed back to the van and drove to Narragansett for dinner at Iggy's. Now that the summer people have mostly gone back to Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts, it's possible to have a pleasant dinner at Iggy's. I had Manhattan-style clam chowder. We had half a dozen doughboys for desert, then drove back to Providence.

Last night, I went back to WoW. I've decided, no matter how fun it might be, I simply haven't the time or the money to take up another MMORPG, so I'm forgoing City of Heroes and Villains. I was starting to feel as though my alter-egos were devouring my prime ego. We did the very first quests leading up to the Cataclysm expansion, helping Vol'jin, leader of the Darkspear trolls, retake the Echo Isles from Zalazane. Gotta admit, the battle was pretty cool. A good bit of reading yesterday: Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos (very amused at Joshi's comments regarding Brian Lumley), Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age, and Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl.

Here are photos from Moonstone:

7 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Congratulations to all the Hugo Award winners. I just saw the list. I am especially pleased to see the novel tie between Miéville and Bacigalupi, and also the wins by Peter Watts, Ellen Datlow, Clarkesworld, the screenplay for Moon, and Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars. Well done.

I wish I'd have known that updating my OS to 10.6.3 renders Photoshop 7 useless. But I didn't, and there's no use crying over spilled pig intestines. So, I just have to root out a cheap replacement for Photoshop, and quickly. Spooky's pointing me to several possibilities.

A huge thanks to Joah for sweeping in and getting the PDF for Sirenia Digest #57 done yesterday afternoon. Sorry the issue was delayed. This morning, everyone who's a subscriber ought to have it in hisherits inbox. If I do say so myself, I think #57 is an especially strong issue. Comments welcome.

---

Yesterday was just shy of a perfect day. About 3 p.m., we left Providence and drove to Conanicut Island, where we spent the late afternoon. We bypassed Beavertail, figuring there would be too many people, and went instead to Fort Wetherill at the southeast corner of the island. We hiked out to the great granite bluff that affords a spectacular view of the lower bay, and to the west Beavertail, and to the east Aquidneck Island and Newport.

The sun was a white ball of fire, and the sky was the bluest blue imaginable. The sky would have shut me down, so carnivorous was it, had the sea not been there to keep me grounded. The wind up there was a fury, buffeting us, blowing so hard that the gulls could make precious little headway against it. Below those granite bluffs, not far from the ruins of the old fort, the sea hammers at the rock as it has hammered for tens of thousands of years. It roils and shatters itself. It's the color of green-white milk glass. The drop's about seventy feet down to the water. If those bluffs have a name, I cannot find it on any map, so I've named them, and the tumbling sea below, the Crucible. I watched an enormous tanker pass the bluffs on its way out to the open Atlantic.

The rocks here are a porphyritic granite of uncertain Late Proterozoic age. This granite was formed by an intrusion of magma, which cooled very slowly, allowing some crystals— the phenocrysts —to grow larger than the groundmass. The granite is shot through with veins of white calcite, some five or six inches wide, and here and there are layers of the older native shale that the magma pushed aside and partially melted. The granite is razor sharp in places, and you must pick your way across it with great caution. The cliffs are clothed in scruffy green, great thickets of bayberry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, and too many others to name.

Later, we headed farther east, to the beach at West Cove where we usually collect glass. But the tide was so high in the wake of Hurricane Earl that the beach was entirely submerged. From there we went further east still, to the area once known as Dumpling Rock. In 1798, a fort was constructed here, which was occupied during the Revolutionary War, in turn, by the American, British-Hessian, and French forces. The fort sat abandoned until 1899, when it was renamed Fort Wetherill and fitted with long-range. breach-loading rifled artillery. Sadly, Fort Dumpling's earthworks were entirely obliterated in the first few years of the 20th Century, during the construction of a more modern fortress. Fort Wetherill was active during both the First and Second World Wars, then abandoned by the US military in 1946. Since then, it has sat empty, cement bunkers tagged by graffiti, overgrown, crumbling, concrete burrows for raccoons and foxes, skunks and coyotes. The northern edge of the fort houses a marine research station and a marina, and a couple of the old buildings are still intact. We sat there a while, watching anglers as the sun began to sink. We saw a man land an enormous flounder.

During the drive down and back, I read a great deal of Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos, mostly the chapter about August Derleth's "...heroic task of literary misconstrual...." I think we made it back home about 7 p.m. We didn't get to sleep until after four a.m., after reading much of Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl. Too much sun, but it was a fine day, all the same. There are a few photos:

4 September 2010 )
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: (Neytiri)
Here it is 1:21 p.m., and I'm only just now sitting down to make a blog entry, which means I'm running about two hours behind what I might laughingly refer to as my "routine."

Last night, we realized that one of Smégaol's paws has developed a pad infection...again. More complications from his plasma-cell pododermatitis. So, he goes back to the vet today.

As for yesterday. I got a package from London, from Steve Jones, containing two books. One is the Russian edition of The Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories by Women. So I can now say that "So Runs the World Away" has been translated into Russian, and I've always loved to stare at my words in Cyrillic, even though I have only the faintest idea what any of it means. There ought to be a word for that: being unable to read something you yourself have written because it has been altered in such a form that, while it retains its essential meaning, it is no longer recognizable by its author. The same package contained the Polish edition of an anthology that doesn't actually contain anything written by me, so that one will remain a mystery.

Sonya arrived on the 2:20 train from Boston. We picked her up, then swung back by the House before heading south to Beavertail. The day was overcast and, once we reached the sea, a little chilly. We climbed down onto the rocks about .16 miles northeast of the lighthouse. There were the usual gulls and cormorants, and some small species of Calidris (possibly a plover or stint) that we weren't able to identify. The surf was rough, and there was a mist rolling in, with a storm not far offshore. My ankle's still giving me trouble, and I was frustratingly clumsy, so we didn't do much clambering about. We located a bit of 19th-Century graffiti we first spotted on June 23, 2008. The sun came out, and we sat a while, just watching the birds and the sea.

Later, we headed over to West Cove at Fort Wetherill. It's our favorite spot for gathering sea glass, and we found some spectacular pieces yesterday. We also saw three specimens of Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia), a species neither Spooky nor I had spotted before. We headed back to Providence about 7 p.m. We stopped at Fellini's for a pizza. Back home, Sonya and I watched Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes (my third time to see it) and James Cameron's Avatar (also my third time time to see it), because Sonya hadn't seen either. I was up far too late, and didn't get to sleep until about four thirty. We talked about everything from mass extinction events to the novellas of Ursula K. LeGuin. Spooky took Sonya back to the station today for a noonish train back to Boston, before I was really even awake. It was a good visit, but far too short.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Unexpected expenses seem to be raining from the sky, lately. You might also find something you like at Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries shop at Etsy. Thanks.

Here are some photos from yesterday:

16 August 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday was a loss, so far as work goes. Yesterday earns an L, so far as work goes. I was too hot, and hadn't left the House in over a week. So, about three p.m., we departed for the beaches along South County. Yesterday was not a loss, so far as just being alive goes.

I'd never been to East Beach, which lies along the narrow string of barrier dunes between Block Island Sound and Ninigret Pond. This is about six miles southeast of Moonstone Beach. Ninigret Pond, like many along the southern cost of Rhode Island, was formed during the retreat of glaciers at the end of the last "ice age," some ten to eleven thousand years ago. Past the dunes, studded with conifers and dog roses, poison ivy and various grasses, the beach is wide. When we arrived, the sun was still high and hot, but it felt good on my skin. I've wasted far too much of this summer indoors.

Mostly, I sat on the blanket and made notes, watched the waves and listened to the surf, while Spooky looked for bits of this and that in the sand. There were a few people fishing. A man near us hooked a sea robin (Family Triglidae), and promptly got stabbed by one of the spines as he tried to get it off his line. He bled, and wrapped his hand in a towel. We saw gulls, cormorants, piping plovers, and what we're pretty sure was a female Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra). Small fish (four or five inches long) jumped from the waves, and those that weren't eaten by the gulls we scooped up and returned to the water.

A little after seven, we headed back to the car, but walked through the trees to the edge of Ninigret Pond before leaving. It's wide and flat, that water, and warm. There were countless small jellyfish washed up along the edge. I assume the species was not espcially toxic, as a small, naked child playing in the water nearby was picking them up. "Say goodbye to the jellyfish," her mother told her, and she did, and dropped it back into the pond.

On the way home, Spooky got a call from Best Buy, that her laptop was back from repairs. It had been the motherboard again. HP has acknowledged that this model has a flawed motherboard, but will only replace them with the same motherboards. At least it was still under warranty. We got home late, and had tuna sandwiches for dinner. It was in the high 80sF in the House. We hid in my office with Dr. Muñoz. I created a new avatar for Insilico rp, and Spooky played WoW (her night-elf driud, Syllhar). My insomnia's come back, and I didn't get to sleep until about five a.m.

That was yesterday.

Today, I have to try to finish up with the preliminary table of contents for the "Best of" volume. I've ironed out some details with Bill Schafer at subpress, which will make doing this much easier. Also, the lettered state of the book will include a special section with illustrations by various artists I've worked with over the years, which I think is very, very cool. The book will be subtitled Volume One, as I felt very weird doing a "Best of" at age -6. I'll do Volume Two -46 years from now...or maybe I'll do it sixteen years from now. The latter seems more prudent.

Okay...time to make the doughnuts. Here are photos from yesterday:

10 August 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Today is the fifteenth anniversary of Elizabeth's suicide. She would be almost forty, had she lived. Yeah, it's a grim way to begin an entry, but it was a grim way to begin a day, and to go to bed last night, and I at least try to tell the truth here. It seems impossible, utterly impossible, that time can have swallowed so much distance between me and that day in 1995. Between me and her. But it has. And I have gone on to have this life. I spent seven years or so doing very little but grieving. And then I found Kathryn, and I began to heal. There will always be a hole where Elizabeth once was. But life continues. Until it doesn't anymore.

---

Yesterday was a good day off. Even if it did begin by having to take Spooky's laptop to the Geek Squad at Best Buy in Warwick (and, so, having to delay a visit by [livejournal.com profile] sovay). It'll be two weeks before she gets it back. Neither of us are happy about that, but there you go. Anyway, we figured that as long as we'd driven to Warwick, we might as well drive on to South County. First, we stopped by Spooky's parents' place. Her dad was out, but her mom was home. We picked apples. We missed picking the blueberries this year. Spooky's mother also gave us yellow tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, blueberries, and eggs. Vegetables fresh from the garden, apples fresh from the trees, blueberries fresh from the bushes, and eggs fresh from the butts of the chickens. We visited with Spider the Enormous Cat.

And then we headed farther south, to Moonstone Beach. As I was getting out of the van, four swans (Cygnus sp.) flew by low overhead, honking loudly. I'd never seen flying swans up close before. They were amazing. We walked over the dunes to the beach. There were a few people, but not so many we couldn't find a quiet spot. I sat and watched the waves, wrote in my notebook, and took a few photos. The sun was still high and hot, but the wind was chilly. Spooky spotted an osprey in among the gulls and cormorants, and saw it swoop down to snatch a fish from the sea. About six p.m., we walked back to the van, and headed to Narragansett for dinner.

Unfortunately, there were so many tourists crowding Iggy's, that we had to settle for George's, over in Galilee. Still not bad. We ate fish sandwiches and watched the Block Island Ferry coming and going. Then we headed back to Spooky's parents, to pick up our produce and eggs (which we'd not taken with us to the beach, because we didn't have the cooler). Her dad was home. I wanted to stay the night, there in the cool and quiet, among the trees and chirping insects. But we'd left my meds at home, so back we drove. It must have been close to nine p.m. by the time we got home.

There are photos below, behind the cut.

I had some good rp in Insilico (thank you, Joah), while Spooky painted. Later, we watched three more eps from Season Two of Nip/Tuck. Before bed, I started reading "Madonna Littoralis." I pretty much never read my own stuff after it's in print. But I've been reading The Ammonite Violin & Others (which is now officially almost sold out, by the way), and enjoying it. It's good to see a book in print, and have so few regrets.

And that was yesterday. I get one more day off, today, and then it's back to the word mines. This afternoon, I'll finish a painting, wash my hair, do a little house cleaning, stuff like that.

Please have a look at the eBay auctions. Thanks.

Here are the photos from yesterday:

2 August 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
An oddly long and full day yesterday. Which is good. Generally, I like my days to seem long, and I prefer them full.

I wrote 1,560 words on "The Yellow Alphabet" (for Sirenia Digest #56), making my way from F through H. Today, there's I through K to contend with. They are not the worst of the lot. That's usually Q. And X. But they are among the worst. Alphabetical thugs, if you will.

I wrote until sometime after five p.m., at which point Spooky ordered me to get dressed, and informed me that we were going to the shore. The summer's been weird, what with one thing and another, and I know it's not been going quite right when there's not sand upon the bedroom floor or in the bed. So, we drove down to South County. After leaving the highway, we followed Succotash Road, past the vast salt marshes bordering Point Judith Pond, down to East Matunuck Beach. The area's more touristy than we usually go for, but it was nearing sunset when we arrived and most of the tourists had left the beach for dinner. And it is a fine beach. You don't get many long sandy beaches in Rhode Island. I watched the waves and gulls, listened to the inhalation and exhalations of the rising tide, felt the chilly wind all about. Spooky waded in the surf, and then sat on the sand and made an effigy of Great Sandthulu. We watched the Block Island Ferry depart from Galilee, headed south, bound for the island. We stayed almost until dark, about 8 p.m. I wanted to stay longer, but the wind was growing cold enough our ears were beginning to ache. There are photos below, behind the cut.

We grabbed a quick dinner from the Subway on Westminster.

Back home, I did something I've not done since April 14th. I went into Second Life and roleplayed in Insilico. My thanks to Hibiki for encouraging me to come back, and my thanks to Fifth, Molly, Aemeth, and Dr. Faith (and Jake) for some very excellent rp last night. It looks like the Xiangs (or at least 1.5) may be back for a spell. It was something I've been needing.

And here are the photos from yesterday. I should wrap this up. The mothmen are getting antsy:

28 July 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The heat is coming back to Providence.

Yesterday marked the 75th day of the BP petrocalamity.

Whatever plans we'd had for our eighth anniversary, Spooky and I had to put on hold when she realized that Sméagol had an abscessed pad on his right hind foot. It was badly swollen and not draining. So she took him to a local vet, where the injury was drained. He was given a dose of antibiotics and sent home. We suspect he sustained the wound during one of the epic kaiju battles in which he and Hubero regularly indulge. But...yeah...on our eighth anniversary, we tended the Sméagol's paw. And the vet bill.

Today, I do the very last read through on "The Maltese Unicorn" before it goes back to the anthology's editor for the very last time tomorrow.

If you've not already, please have a look at the eBay auctions, and, in particular, have a look at the Salammbô T-shirt. Thanks.

A good mail day yesterday. I got a package from Peter Straub, containing A Special Place: The Heart of a Dark Matter (Pegasus Books). Also, there was an extraordinarily generous package from Steven Lubold, which included a copy of the 1966 Arkham House anthology, The Dark Brotherhood and Other Pieces. So, big thank yous to both Peter and Steven.

---

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] derekcfpegritz wrote:

Suggestion: "How the Moon Got Its Whiskers" has to involve the cats that helped Randolph Carter get back from the Moon in "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath." I've always wondered about what stake the cats had in his adventures. I mean, we're talking cats here. Cats do not help people "just because." There was definitely something in it for them, and I wonder if it was the get back at the Moon-beasts somehow. Or, hell, maybe they just owed Pickman a favour.

Not a bad idea. This might even tie into my unfinished story, "The Alchemist's Daughter," which was set in Lovecraft's dreamlands, and featured Ulthar and its cats.

---

Today is July 4th, the birthday of my Grandfather, Gordy M. Ramey. He was born in July 1911, and died in January 1977. Which means this is his 99th birthday. Weird.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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