greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they'd made.
And the sign flashed out it's warning,
In the words that it was forming...


---

I am so very not awake. Still, it would be a decent enough day to entertain comments, so please feel free. To comment. I'll be here all day. Anyway, I took all the proper pills, but was still awake until almost five ayem. Sometimes, the old neurochemistry insists on having it's way, pills or no. Which is actually oddly comforting. The triumph of Nature over Pharmacy, even if it's annoying Nature. Then again, if I lived a more natural life, in a more natural world, I might not be suckling at the teat of the Pharmacy.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,790 words on Chapter Two of Blood Oranges. Yesterday, someone asked me of the novel, "Is there any tongue-in-cheek left?" Thinking on that question, and having talked it over with Spooky, I think the answer is yes. But it's not really a spoof or a satire. It's simplest to point to Tarantino's films. Is Kill Bill a spoof or a satire? No, not really. It's keenly aware of the layers of homage within it, and it often pokes fun at itself and the source material. But it also has an undeniable reverence for and fascination with that source material. Ergo, more homage, less satire. This goes back to the danger of setting out to do...well, anything. I really do hate ParaRom (which, by the way, I'm told by reliable sources is quickly waning in sales and popularity). But I also really do love the sources it draws upon. Also, I can only manage comedy for short bursts. I could never write a book that's funny page-to-page. Blood Oranges is keenly aware of the layers of homage within it, and it often pokes fun at itself and the source material. It frequently rolls its eyes. I've never written anything so forthrightly concerned with pop culture (in this case, what pop culture would have us believe about monsters).

Sometimes, we set out to make fun of a thing, then discover it's not really worth making fun of...well, not at tiresome length. Comedy can quickly become dull. Instead, we discover this other thing that's a lot more interesting. The "werepire" novel began as a joke; any joke that tries to go on for a hundred thousand words is doomed from the start.

---

We have a new round of eBay auctions. And here were are, my 47th birthday imminent. I have a wishlist at Amazon, and yeah, it's a little late, but ain't nothin' wrong with late gifts, right?

Yesterday, I read "A partial skeleton of the Late Cretaceous lamniform shark, Archaeolamna kopingensis, the Pierre Shale of western Kansas, U.S.A," in the January JVP.

Last night, we watched David Slade's adaptation of 30 Days of Night again. And it's actually a much better film than I remembered it being. There are big problems (pacing, for example), but it still delivers, and few films in recent memory have had such memorable vampires. Alien, gleefully vicious, sexy despite their repulsiveness...all the things vampires ought to be.

And then we played Rift. And then we read Kathe Koja. Then...well, back where this entry began.

And that's my cue to get to work.

Blearily,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, so. Back on January 16, 2010, I posted just how much it cost me and Spooky to travel from Providence for me to take part in a reading at the Montauk Club in Brooklyn, a post that included an itemized list of our expenses that night. $111.46, total. And we were only gone about 12 hours, something like that. The point of making that post was to demonstrate why I so rarely travel significant distances to make public appearances.

Our Tuesday/Wednesday trip to Manhattan stands as another prime example. Below is an itemized list of our expenses:

1. Round-trip bus fare (Providence to Port Authority) x 2*: $160
2. Cab fare (three cab rides): $58**
3. Parking at the bus*** depot in Providence: $16
4. Three soft drinks: $7
Total: $241 (for a day and a half)

Now, keep in mind, we had a place to stay, so no hotel bill, and Peter and Susan picked up the dinner tab on Tuesday, then Peter fixed us breakfast, so no meals were purchased. Lodging and meal expenses could easily have added another $200+. For one night. Obviously, a four-day convention is much more expensive.

Now, I also have to add to the total our museum visit, which added $53. But. We virtually never do anything of that sort. Our normal monthly entertainment expenditure averages less than $60. So, you add the museum (which isn't the business part), the cost goes up to $294.

* If you're wondering why I don't save money by traveling alone, the short answer is because I'm not well enough to do so, not at the present. Maybe at some future date, but not now.

** True, the subway would have been much cheaper. But. Our schedule would have made using the subway extremely inconvenient, neither of us are familiar with the routes, and riding the subway vastly increases the odds of catching this or that bug and sacrificing more money to lost days/productivity once the trip is over. I've used the subway lots (last January, for example). This time, it simply wasn't practical.

*** Had we taken Amtrak from Kingston, RI it would have cost us about twice as much.

So, why don't I do more conventions, readings outside Providence, etc.? This is why. Rarely do such activities even begin to prove cost effective. What they do, primarily, is increase my visibility within the community of writers and editors. Most readings net tiny attendance and insignificant book sales (and often lead to bookstores returning the extra stock they ordered for the event, which drives up my return rate). Far bigger names than me often have lousy turnouts at readings. And even if, say, fifty people show up (and for most of us, that's a huge turnout), what the bookstore makes selling books, and what your publisher makes, is likely less than what it cost you to travel to the event.

So, what work-related traveling I do, I choose the trips with great care. I do only those things I really, really want to do. KGB readings, for example. And ReaderCon. Of course, if an event or publisher is willing to pay for all my expenses, I'll usually make the trip; this has almost never happened for me.

I would also add, it horrifies me to think how much I would increase my carbon footprint...

By the way, have I mentioned this wonderful book my [livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid (Nick Mamatas), Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
The tree outside my office window is finally greening.

It's Saturday, and I'm locked inside. Please comment.

And this is one of the days when I chafe at the tyranny of my pill bottles and boxes. I'd like to open the window and drop them out. Fuck you, defective brain chemistry. Let the pieces fall where they may, but at least they'd be my pieces. Not a pharmaceutical hybrid always telling me that's my face in the mirror, when I know better.

Fuck you, 47.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,599 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges. My plan is to have the first chapter finished by Wednesday, and then set the book aside until September. Which is, I know, a weird way to write a book, but another book needs to be written in between. And maybe when I come back to Blood Oranges at the end of the summer, I'll have figured out everything that happens after Chapter One.

---

I've made it almost all the way through the latest JVP, articles on Cenomanian squamates in France, the skull of the Early Triassic parareptile Sauropareion, saber-toothed cats from the Pleistocene of Venezuela, the therapsid Promoschorynchus, and a new Lower Carboniferous xenacanthiform shark from Australia.

---

Night before last, we watched Tony Scott's Unstoppable (2010), which is the other movie about trouble with trains he made, immediately after having done the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009). Both, of course, star Denzel Washington. Anyway, Unstoppable is good, and Washington is always a joy to watch. But, Chris Pine is dull as engine sludge, and it's a different sort of film than The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. As much as I enjoyed Unstoppable, I found myself wishing for the electricity that had sparked back and forth between that film's antagonist and protagonist. But the presence of Rosario Dawson (who played Abernathy in Death Proof) helped.

Last night, we watched two "horror" movies. The first was an entirely enjoyable and stupendously ridiculous Joel Schumacher film, Blood Creek (2009). Rednecks in Virginia fight a zombie demon Nazi occultist in a big scary house where time has stood still since 1940. And there's a zombie horse that, honest to fuck, is one of the scariest things I've seen in ages. I expected nothing from this film, and liked it a lot. It's much more artful than it has any right to be. See it.

We also watched Kevin Costner in Luis Berdejo's The New Daughter, which is very remotely based on a short story by John Connolly. All that said, it really isn't very good, which should surprise no one, as Kevin Costner hasn't, to my knowledge, been in a good movie since 1993 (A Perfect World, directed by Clint Eastwood). However, the sad thing is, The New Daughter has a lot of isolated effective moments, and it could have been brilliant. But the pacing's off, the film's about half an hour too long, is filled with actors who can't act, and feels like it wants to be a television mini-series. In fact, the uninspired cinematography absolutely screams old-school network TV mini-series. Essentially, it's a fairytale. More specifically, a changeling story and an animal groom story. But it fails to mine the riches of that fictional territory (if, indeed, the film is even that aware of it's fundamental nature). The archetypes and opportunities are left to die on the vine while Kevin Costner flails about and pouts and fails at being a single helicopter parent. A bright spot, however, is Ivana Baquero (Pan's Labyrinth), who makes the best of a bad situation and rocks the fuck out of what little she's given to work with. The film's final shot might have been brilliant, but it gets mucked up by ham-fisted "horror" clichés. See this one if you're bored, or enjoy picking apart bad films that ought to have been better.

---

You know, I really do love Rift. In terms of a fantasy MMORPG, it's the best there's ever been. It's beautiful to look at, usually fun to play, and all that. It's even queer friendly. But the more I play, and the more the shiny wears off, the more I see how much better and smarter it ought to be. Look, here's the thing. I've said it before. Trion, are you listening?

Writer's work cheap.

Especially fantasy writers. We very often do our best work for a few pennies a word. It's obscene, but true. And it's entirely relevant here, Trion, because you didn't have to do this wrong. The plot holes, almost complete lack of internal logical integrity, faulty world-building, and so on and so forth, all that stuff could have been avoided. And you wouldn't have to be posting what is essentially poorly written fan fic to your website, mucking things up even more. You could have done this right, Trion, and either you were ignorant of that fact, or you just didn't give a shit. But it's not about money. Because, like I said (REPEAT AFTER ME), writers work cheap. And even moderately incompetent hacks who never aspired to write anything more ambitious than a twelve-volume epic – following the adventures of a Drow anti-hero with a name that makes me laugh – can do better.

This is my message to the whole goddamn world right now: You can do better. Yes, you can. And if you know this, and you continue on about your sloppy, lazy, half-assed ways, well...people will love you and shower you with riches and you'll win awards. Because this is the way the world works.

But some days it makes me more nauseous than others.

---

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

Venting Spleen,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cold Spring continues. Colder tonight, but at least there's sun today. For now. The pollen's flying, but that's okay. Seagulls over Providence. The tree outside my office window has buds, but not yet any sign of green.

Yesterday, I didn't get back to work on "Fake Plastic Trees." My agent called and we talked and talked and talked, and plans were made. I virtually never plan. I just let shit happen. Which is one reason I've had such a peculiar career so far. Planning always felt so...common. But yesterday we planned. I'm going to write a chapter and synopsis of the "werepire" novel and pitch it to my editor at Penguin, then start Blue Canary. I'll probably write all of Blue Canary before I get back to the "werepires," which would likely be in the autumn. Unless I realize this is all too entirely fucking insane, I may have two new novels written by the end of the 2011. I might call the "werepire" thingy Adapted Dark. I sort of want to see if I can write a decent book in, say, two months. Or if my head will go boom, instead.

Have I mentioned there will be at least one, and probably three, Vince Locke illustrations in The Drowning Girl?

---

My life is a constellation of prescriptions. That's a lousy fucking bit of phraseology, but there you go. A sky dotted with pills. And yesterday a new one was added to the sky maps, and it sort of unexpectedly knocked me for a loop. I went out to the market with Spooky, but by the time we got home, I could hardly sit up. So, I lay down on the chaise in the middle parlor, in front of the fire, and dozed for half an hour or so. Then she woke me, and it was a long groggy evening. We watched Kill Bill Vol. 1 again, mostly so I could moon over Uma's feet and Gogo...and because the climactic fight scene never gets old. I read a paper on the braincase anatomy of the theropod Carnotaurus. But I never really shook off the grogginess. I did some rp with [livejournal.com profile] omika_pearl, but I just wasn't there, and finally apologized and hit the pause button. However, when I went to bed at three, I was asleep as soon as the light went out, and didn't wake until eleven. I wasn't prescribed this drug as a sleep aid, only warned it might make me drowsy. So...damn. Tonight, I don't take it until bedtime.

Oh, and boot money fell, like a Fortean event, from the heavens. Thank you, Jada. You're the bestest.

People have asked for photos of the new piercings, so there are some ears behind the cut (just the ears, but I'll do the labret later):

Holes )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Fuck all, it's raining. It's cold and rainy and Spooky has to walk to the garage to get the hopefully not broken anymore car. And I don't feel like blogging, and as I was getting out of bed (crack, pop, fuck, crack, pop, crunch, ow), Hubero rather perfectly described my "artistic process." So, thought I, a guest blogger! People do that shit all the time, right? Well, Jeff VanderMeer does, and he's pretty cool.

---

All day Ma sits and taps at this thing. Don't know why she does it. She sits and taps at this thing all day long just tapping and tapping and tapping like it's supposed to mean something. She taps then she stops tapping and yells and then taps some more. She taps and yells and yells and checks the internets and taps. Sometimes she yells at my other Ma, and they yell at each other and then Ma gets quiet and stares at the glowing box before she taps some more. Tap tap tap tap tap. Then she goes to the litter box and comes back and taps. Then she yells and checks the internets and taps and punches the arm of her chair and yells and mutters and mumbles and takes her pills and can't find the book she needs so she yells more and I say fuck this noise and go find a place to sleep but I can STILL hear her tapping and tapping and yelling. Ma does this for hours and hours every single day. The other Ma mostly tells us not to eat STYRO-foam peanuts and dust bunnies and garlic skins but other other Ma taps all day long. Taps and yells. And stares. Lots of staring. Tapping and staring. And pacing and yelling and tapping. If she did less of this I could sleep in her chair which is nice because it smells like her butt.

Signed,
Hubero P. Wu



---

Yeah, Well. Anyway. So, maybe cats aren't natural born bloggers.

Yesterday was a whole lot more of everything that happened on Monday. Which you can find out about by reading yesterday's entry, rather than me regurgitating the tedious catalog. Wanna be a writer? Learn to love the hell out of tedium. That's rule Number One. Today, with luck, I'm actually going to begin work on the short story I should have begun work on two days ago. Because being ahead of schedule is about to turn in to being behind schedule. Oh, and I packed boxes for the storage unit. And hung pictures that have been waiting two and a half years to be hung.

Please have a look at the Totally Unique Never-To-Be-Repeated Keyboard Auction. Thanks.

Also, don't forget the Question @ Hand, the best replies to which will appear in Sirenia Digest #65.

---

Last night we watched Julian Schnabel's Basquiat (1996), which I can't believe I'd never seen. But I hadn't. If I had only one word? Poignant. In almost all senses of the word. Bowie's portrayal of Andy Warhol is especially marvelous. Afterwards, we watched Grant Harvey's Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004), which I enjoyed quite a bit more than the first time I saw it. I fear, the first time, I was too weighed down by expectation. Regardless, second time around, I mostly just had fun with the violence and werewolves and sexy. Yeah, a weird as hell double feature. I know.

Later, we played Rift. I decided, finally, that my Kelari mage, Selwyn (necromancer, warlock, pyromancer), will be my main. Spooky played as her Kelari cleric, Miisya (using her druid soul). We were out in Stonefield with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus's Kelari rogue, Celinn. Which was wicked fun, but Celinn needs a horsey. Or a vaiyuu. Either one. We may take up a collection, because, let me tell you, kittens, all that running across the plains of Rohan shit gets old fast. Selwyn made Level 22. Also, we need a fucking tank.

We read more of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief

And that was yesterday. Whoopee.

Slogging Onward,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
Rainy and cold in Providence. Each spring, this actually-late-winter stage seems to last longer and longer. Like a sort of time dilation. I need it to fuck away elsewhere, but Nature does as Nature does. Except, of course, when we break it. Though, even then, it does as it does given a new set of rules, as it always would have done. Regardless, fuck you day of drizzle and clouds. If I don't go out today, I'll not have left the house, for more than three or four minutes on one occasion, in the past twelve days.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,755 words on "Random Notes Before a Fatal Crash," and found THE END. It is a very peculiar story. No surprise there. I'm tempted to spend two days adding footnotes, because they'd certainly fit right in. Then again, it's usually better to leave the reader to puzzle out whatever may not be clear (only too many readers hate to think; they just want "a good read" or "a quick read" or "an easy read"). It's a fine story and I'm pleased with it. Well, it's not so much a story, as journal entries from the final days of a man's life. And the word "random," it should come as no surprise that the use of that word here is a boondoggle. Anyway, when I was done with the story yesterday I realized a very important thing. The sort of very important thing I should have realized long ago. Gobsmacked by the obvious. I've spent at least three years mining my gradual and inexorable mental (and, to a lesser degree, physical) deterioration. And now it's time to stop writing novels like that. Imp and The Drowning Girl, that's the last time I do it. Probably forever. I've sold the most private confessions far too cheaply. Likely, I can't keep these elements out of my short stories, but it'll not find its way into my attempt to write YA. Blue Canary is going to be a creepy, whimsical, adventurous, fun sort of quasi-detective story. If anyone's insane, they'll be safe caricatures. I see people whine about how Kathe Koja gave up the ghost after Kink, how she "lost it" when she started writing YA, to which I can only say – fuck off. I've had enough of this. Howard Hughes is tired of telling the truth.

I forgot, a couple of days back, to mention that I'd been sent copies of Graham Joyce's The Silent Land (courtesy the publisher, Doubleday) and Carrie Ryman's The Forest of Hands and Teeth (courtesy Cassandra Brewtser). They have been added to the Mountain of That Which Must Be Read. Avalanche warnings have been posted.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Hubero was entirely unimpressed, just now, when I told him I was away to a hard day at the Office, and to have an extra-dry martini waiting for me when I got home.

Great comments yesterday. Thank you. If you want to keep it up, I won't mind.

Grey and drizzly out there, and, in here, yeah, I'm still exhausted. But I may have turned a corner. I no longer feel quite so much as though something is riding about on my shoulders. I think, last night, it crawled off me and slithered down a drain. We'll be symbiotes again at some later time. For now, I'm not so heavy.

It helps that today is the last day I'm allowing myself to edit the manuscript for Two Worlds and In Between, that tonight it ALL goes away to Bill at subpress. And since Bill has previewed the cover, here's two versions of the entire wondrous cover (behind the cut). We're still a ways from actual layout, of course. But, gods do I love this painting. Thank you, Lee! Oh, I almost forgot. Lee and I will be selling very limited-edition, signed prints of the cover; more on this later:

Changesonekiernan )


All day yesterday was spent editing the collection, right up to the time that Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) arrived. It was good to have company again, so soon after Sonya. There must be more people in my life. How's that for a fucking heresy? We got Lebanese takeout and sat up much too late, talking about magick, books, writers, movies, childhood, drugs, tattoos, gaming, and...tons of other stuff. We watched Antti-Jussi Annila's brilliant Sauna (2008) again, because Spooky had not yet sent it back to Netflix, and I knew how much Geoffrey would love it. I caught so much on the second viewing I missed the first time. It's a film that would hold up under many viewings.

Geoffrey is one of the few people on earth who already has a complete copy of The Drowning Girl, but he hasn't yet had time to read it. Only thirteen people have copies, at this point.

Meanwhile...

There are only THREE days remaining in "Tale of the Ravens" Kickstarter project. One of the last two $500 spots was claimed this morning, and we're still hoping the last one will be, too. The greater the margin by which we exceed our goal, the firmer footing Goat Girl Press will set out upon. Spooky and I are already thinking about projects we'll do after "Tale of the Ravens." And look at all the cool stuff that comes with the $500 donation. So, yes. Donate!

And now, kittens, I go down to slay this rough, unruly Other Beast, who is also me. Or, perhaps, merely to fuck it into submission.

A Skosh Less Weighted,
Aunt Beast

P.S. – STILL NOT A HORROR WRITER.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Back in September, thereabouts, there was a day when I finally sat down with Kathryn, and we talked, and I made the decision that I would never write a another novel. We worked out a remotely feasible way to bring in enough money with me only doing short fiction, novellas, and Sirenia Digest. It was a for-sure thing. There was a profound sense of relief, and it lasted maybe a month. I can only imagine it was like fighting in a war for fifteen years, and suddenly finding out there had been a truce. Not victory, but at least a truce.

Then, on November 1st, I sat down and began writing The Drowning Girl. On November 2nd, I wrote in the blog, "Yesterday, I wrote an impressive 1,664 words on Chapter One of The Drowning Girl. This is the first time I've had the nerve to go back to work on the novel since August 4th. I scrapped everything I wrote this summer and started over again. But, I think I have finally found the voice of this novel."

And, then, yesterday, after only a little more than four months, I finished the book, the one that originally occurred to me way back in August 2009, on a hot, sunny day at the Peace Dale Public Library, and that tried very, very hard not ever to be written. There might still be a weird sort of an epilogue to do, and there might not. But the book is essentially written. Imp has told her ghost story, which is both a mermaid story and a werewolf story, but really is neither of those things. I cried twice yesterday, when it was done.

I'll do a quick polish and send it to my editor sometime between now and Monday, and it should be out next spring. And yes, this will be my last "adult" novel for a while. What I do, the way I write, regardless of how popular or unpopular what I write may be, it messes me up to do it. As I told Neil a week ago, I want to just spend a few years telling stories. A little less public self evisceration. Well, except for the digest, which will stay the same. The digest won't change. And the stuff I write for anthologies, that won't change, either. Mostly, the novels.

And it truly is the best novel I've ever written, by a long shot.

Huzzah.

---

A quick recap of the rest of yesterday: It was a muteday, which made everything extra strange, finishing the novel and still remaining silent. I received permission to use one set of song lyrics, wrote Radiohead's management about another set, and will be writing R.E.M. today. I signed a mountain of eBay books, which Spooky then took to the post office. I answered a bunch of email. Oh, and I finished a novel. I only wrote 765 words, because I didn't need to write any more than that to reach THE END. The entire ms. for The Drowning Girl presently stands at 101,493 words. After all is said and done, it might go to 103,500.

Later, I went with Spooky to Staples, and PetCo, and Eastside Market, because we were out of lots of stuff. I'd not left the house since February 26th, when we made the snowy trek to the Blackstone Gorge. So, it had been...nine days. The day was bright, and the late afternoon light on College Hill was beautiful. But it was bitterly cold out there.

Back home, after dinner, Spooky proofed "The Dead and the Moonstruck" for Two Worlds and In Between. I was too exhausted to do anything but play about half an hour of Rift before I got disconnected from the server and gave up. We watched Richard Laxton's An Englishman in New York (2009), which is such a fine and brilliant film, and John Hurt is amazing as Quentin Crisp. Then Spooky played Rift, and her Kelari cleric made Level 18, and then I played again, and my Kelari mage reached Level 19. It's weird, not being able to play together, and soloing is a bitch, worse than in WoW. And after the gaming, we read more of Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire

And that was yesterday.

There's still a terrifying mountain of work to get done in the next week or so, but I think we have some emergency relief on the way. Comments would be very welcome today.

Oh, photos from yesterday. It seems somehow proper to photograph my mutedays:

7 March 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
(No one's going to read all this...)

Last night, I dreamt of playing the accordion.

---

Really, beyond seeing Lee Moyer's almost finished cover for Two Worlds and In Between, it was a pretty shitty day. That was the only bright spot. Wait, there was one other. Anyway, for some reason, I recorded the whole crappy day in photos, nineteen of them, below and behind the cut.

I've not spoken for thirty-three hours now, and I'm going for forty-eight, and then, then we'll see.

Much (but by no means all) of what went so wrong about yesterday was thinking I might be ready to finish the final chapter of The Drowning Girl, then discovering another scene that needed to be fitted it. I wrote the new scene, then struggled to insert it without disrupting the chapter's established flow. This is one of those things I can't understand about writers who write shit out of order. I write, I establish flow, and it's pretty much unidirectional. Try to go back and stick in new stuff, it all goes to shit (plus, you're swimming upstream the whole time). But, I wrote the new scene, like I said, then proceeded to the last scene (I only wrote 691 words yesterday). Then decided I needed to hear all of the final chapter, and an earlier part of the book, before wrapping it up. So, I asked Spooky to read it to me.

But I dozed off while she was reading to me, so we have to finish today. After I write the journal entry. Then I have to write another extra scene, once I figure out if it belongs in the ninth or tenth chapter. Maybe Monday and Tuesday I can write the last two scenes. Of course, I also have the deadline for Two Worlds and In Between a mere nine days from now, and there's still so much work left to do on that it boggles the noggin. And there's the work for SuicideGirls that I took on last week.

A nice piece of mail (the real sort, on paper with stamps) from Leeanne O'Sullivan in Lancashire, England. Thank you, Leeanne. You were that other bright spot.

---

After dinner, I had a hot bath. And a meltdown. A silent meltdown.

Later, when I'd been scooped into a Caitlín-shaped bowl, we watched Abel Ferrara's New Rose Hotel, a pretty faithful 1998 film adaptation of William Gibson's short story of the same name. If nothing else, the movie nails the mood of Gibson's story. Christopher Walken is wonderful. Willem Dafoe is a little on autopilot. And Asia Argento is...um....hot. But you already knew that. Yoshitaka Amano (yes, that Yoshitaka Amano) plays the mark, a geneticist named Hiroshi, and there are cool cameos, such as Ryuichi Sakamoto. Definitely recommended, and you can stream it from Netflix.

Laterer, played Rift. Selwyn didn't make Level 19, because I tried to rp instead. And it wasn't bad, but after two attempts at rp in Rift I see that one has to know the canon, and that all the players have to be on the same page in interpreting the canon. Most rpers won't even realize this, of course, but then most rpers suck. Which is why you must rp in tiny groups (4-5 at most).

Latererer, Spooky read me chapters Four and Five of Catching Fire, and I'm relieved to say it gets much better. I think the first three chapters might have been condensed into a paragraph. But I also think, when we're done, I'll be of the opinion it should all have been written as a single book, not a trilogy. We are chained to trilogies. Fuck you, Trilogy Tyrant. Fuck you, Despot of Series. Fuck you.

---

My thanks to people who commented on the problem of gay protagonists in YA novels. I'm not going to get into all the details, because they are many and some of this is private stuff between me and others. And because there's the ugly issue of money. But, I will say, my first YA protagonist will be a lesbian. The worst that can happen is that I can fail, and I've sort of done that already (if we're talking about financial success and mass appeal, and I am).

Comments on #63? Bueller? Bueller?

Now...the photos:

5 February 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Utter chaos and panic today. Three looming deadlines. Fear I'll break the novel. Fear of word limits. Fear I won't have the collection edited in time. Fear of other looming deadlines, editors, agents, readers. Insomnia. Exhaustion. Fear. Panic. Rage. Money fear. Isolation.

If anyone wants this shitty job, I'm selling cheap.

But still, I have been silent.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Bleah. Doctor's appointment. I'm being good. No, I'm trying to be good, and not wear latex gloves and a breath mask. I did that last winter, and it freaked people out. This is a new doctor, and I probably shouldn't freak her out until later.

Yesterday, I wrote precisely 1,500 words on the beginning of the ninth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. There are few things as terrifying as beginning the ending of a novel. Here is where it stops. Here, I have to get it all exactly right, and I have to do it the first time, because I know I won't rewrite. And it's going to be harrowing, sorrowful, merciful, vicious, joyful, and hallucinatory. And then there will be an epilogue, and the novel really will be over.

After the writing, Spooky and I proofed "Waycross" for Two Worlds and In Between.

That was work yesterday.

Today, I doubt I'll get a single word read, or anything edited.

Last night, we finished reading [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's White Cat, and began Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games. My agent has been trying to get me to read it, and Neil also said I ought to, and now I see why. It's bloody fucking brilliant. Beautiful worldbuilding. Plus, it had Spooky in tears by the second chapter, and that's always a good sign that the writer is doing her job.

Spooky let me on her laptop long enough to level my Kelari mage to 8. I'm intending to take the leveling really slow. I want to see this world. I want leveling to be a journey. Rift has yet to disappoint. Also, I've mostly seen only appropriate names. I was heartened to see, in chat, that players are reporting inappropriate names. And that players are putting thought into how the names of each race should sound. We're really not in Azeroth anymore.

Okay. I have to go get dressed so I can be humiliated, poked, prodded, and charged too much for the experience. If we were talking about a dominatrix, instead of a medical doctor, I'd have no problem with this.

No, I have no health insurance. I'm a writer. An American writer. I'm pretty sure healthcare is unpatriotic.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Um. Yeah. Slept until the ass crack of noon, which means I got eight full hours of sleep for the first time in ages. I've been sleeping better in general, which I tend to do when I'm writing a lot. Plus, we were out yesterday and I soaked up a lot of sun, and the Vitamin D never hurts. Those gummy things are good, but they can't match getting it straight from the source.

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

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

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

22 February 2011 )


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

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

"Comment!" says Herr Platypus!
greygirlbeast: (sleeps with wolves)
I want T-shirts made to promote The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. They'll read "Imp didn't die for your sins. She had better things to do."

But that's too wordy, isn't it? No, wait. It's only forty-seven characters, or fifty-eight with spaces. I figure the attention spans of human beings are still capable of handling anything shorter than a Twitter message.

Thanks for the eBay love. Someday, Spooky and I will be well-provided for, and we'll live on a little farm on a remote little island in Maine (Peneboscot Bay will do), and have two goats and two chickens and a big dog and three cats. We'll grow blueberries and apples. And we won't have to deal with eBay anymore ever again. Such dreams keep me alive.

Yesterday, after much book talk with Spooky, I tore apart the eighth chapter, and then wrote 1,417 words. 8 has gone from being a speed bump to being a wall. I know pretty much everything on the other side of the wall, all the way to THE END (which isn't really THE END, but only the place Imp doesn't have to say anything else). If I were capable of writing books out of order (and I emphatically am not, so don't suggest I try), I'd skip 8, write 9 and the epilogue, then decide if 8 is even necessary. But I can't do that.

The horrid cough I almost always get after any cold is here. No doctor has ever figured this cough out. It's a dry, wracking cough that leaves me exhausted and sore and wheezing. It usually hangs around for about a month (three months is the record), then leaves. This has been happening since the mid-eighties. The only thing that's ever seemed to help is Altoids peppermints, but they only help so long as one is in my mouth, and gods I get sick of Altoids fast. By the time I was done writing yesterday, the cough had me so exhausted that I lay down on the sofa in the front parlor and slept until dinner. Obviously, I've stopped smoking again.

Last night, there was, once again, far too much WoW. I finished the quests in Desolace and moved along to Feralas. It's the height of tedium, but I will leave that game with the title "Loremaster." To make things worse, Spooky let me actually play Rift last night, and fuck, but it's wonderful. I leveled Selwyn, my Kalari mage (necromancy, pyromancy, and chloromacy), to six. The world is so fully realized. Tomorrow's the end of the beta, and the game won't be released until March 1st, so...long wait for more wonderfulness.

I'm gonna go finish my coffee. But I leave you with photographs of Sméagol having a snooze in the sun:

Sméagol, 19 February 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
Sick as a dog. As a sick dog, I mean. I've never understood the whole "sick as a dog" thing, as though the normative canine state is sick. I've also never much understood football, but mostly, these days, I keep my mouth shut about it. Lots of people who get wet over touchdowns can't begin to appreciate the importance of a warlock's staff having +200 to shadow damage or why cool downs are such a bummer. So, live and let live. However, I wake up— not to news that the Packers beat the Steelers 31-25 (I actually had to google that) —but to a slew of articles analyzing and rating the goddamn commercials. And what's more baffling still, a whole bunch of Sturm und Drang about Christina Aguilera screwing up "The Star-Spangled Banner." Are you really surprised? She's Christina Aguilera. You let her sing a song with actual words, bad shit will ensue.

Anyway.

Yeah, sick. Bad night. Worse dreams. Feverish. Achy. Mucus in places mucus ought never be (a few sex-with-aliens scenarios aside).

Yesterday, I wrote 2,155 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The book grows ever more peculiar. And today, I've set for myself a challenge. Even though I'm sick as a sick dog. Today I mean to write 3,000 words, which is a thing I've never done. Not in one day. My personal best is 2,800+, but never 3,000. I'll probably fail, but I'm going to try. That way, if I'm too sick tomorrow to sit up straight, I won't have to feel guilty about not sitting up straight. I can lie in bed and moan and make Spooky's life miserable with a minimum of guilt.

Last night, Spooky made quadrupedal chicken stew. I don't know where she finds these four- and five-legged chickens, and I don't ask. We watched Fringe and the satisfying pornographic spectacle that is Spartacus. Then I logged into Insilico and spent three hours as a hopelessly broken droid caught between the godlike AI that created her and a human sadist into who's hands she's been delivered. Way more fun than football.

We went to bed and Spooky read to me from Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps. Which was a bad idea, what with being sick and the inevitable nightmares. My bad dreams are bad enough without fucking junkie hobo vampires coming along for the ride.

Time to make the doughnuts. Or dissolve in a puddle of my own phlegm. We'll see. But comment. Cheer me on. Jeer. Whichever.

In Misery and Chagrin,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (starbuck2)
I think I'm very probably that deluded prostitute who tells everyone that she's actually an actress.
greygirlbeast: (starbuck1)
The snow is here again. Not that it ever went anywhere. The new snow is here, adding another stratum atop the last. Though, at least it may not be as bad as the Weather Channel was predicting last night (early this ayem). Still, I don't think Providence will be free of this blanket until sometime in late March. I woke this morning about seven o'clock and stood in the parlor a moment, in the perfect grey quiet, watching the slow white rain.

Note that between now and Valentine's Day, Spooky's offering free shipping on any jewelery purchase from her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy Shop. Please have a look. Right now, my favorite piece is the mermaid's garden skeleton key necklace. I tried to get her not to sell it, but I usually lose those arguments. So, buy it for someone and make him, her, or it very happy, with my blessings.

Yesterday was...I'm not sure I have an adjective for what yesterday was. In my Moleskine I wrote, "Scaling back ambition." And also, "This is the day when I realized that I'll not be writing the book I thought I'd be writing, but, instead, the book that I can write." Spooky and I spent hours talking through what's left to be done, how much has been written thus far, deadlines, the story as I understand it, and my somewhat precarious mental state. I have two months until I have to deliver the novel, and if I'm only halfway through, I'd need until the end of May. Which I don't have and can't get. Also, the manuscript would be, at a conservative estimate, 150,000 words long (my contract stipulates 100k). And, sure, it's nice to take the high road and declare that the book will be as long as the book needs to be. But, sometimes, the high road is inaccessible to even the best climbers, and another route has to be found. Yesterday, I began finding that alternate path through The Drowning Girl, seeking another way to tell exactly the same story without rewriting anything I've done so far. It's going to require at least a few days to sort out, but I'm starting to see how it can be done.

Probably, yesterday was the most utterly terrified I've been of and about this novel, and also the day when I suddenly felt very relieved. Someday, when it's finished, I can talk particulars.

And my thanks for all the kind words that people offered in the comments yesterday. As much as words can help, they helped. I read them all, even if I didn't reply to them all. I finally admitted, publicly to something I've known for a long time. In response to [livejournal.com profile] whiskeychick, I wrote:

"...the truth is that, in one way or another, I've been writing exactly the same book, trying to achieve exactly the same catharsis, since Silk. It will never be written out, and I have to accept that. Haunted people do not get unhaunted, and closure is essentially a lie."

It is my intention never to write this book again after The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I won't have written it out, or found "closure," or have healed, or any of that nonsense. It'll still be right here locked up in my chest, where it's always been. But what's going to make this novel different from all the others will be Imp coming to understand that haunted is forever. There are no exorcists, no psychiatric miracles, no magic words, no salted earth, no cleansing fire, nothing with the power to dispel our ghosts. Not really. And you live, or you die. Either way, you move on.

Anyway....

Not much else to yesterday. I was very late at the doctor, until about 8:30, and then there was the market, and dinner, and a few hours of intense rp in Insilico. The latest incarnation of the Xiang AI may not be the strangest yet, but she may be the most lost. Oh, she named Nemo. Then, I was unable to get to sleep until almost five ayem, and didn't sleep long enough to escape the effects of the Seroquel, so I'm kind of oogy just now. And here's the view from our front parlor window this morning:

1 February 2011 )


On this day in 1926, eighty and five years ago, "The Call of Cthulhu" first appeared in print.
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
It's bright out there. Cold, but bright. And there's another storm on the way, as I'm sure at least half the country is aware. The snow should reach us by morning. I'm thinking of all those six-foot heaps made by the snowplows, and wondering how they'll look as seven- and eight-foot heaps. We have to get out of here this evening, before the weather starts deteriorating. I have a 7 p.m. (CaST) doctor's appointment, and we'll need to make it to the market.

---

Something happened yesterday that's never happened before. It's remarkable, I suppose, that it's never happened before, given I've been writing pretty much full-time now for nineteen years. I'm hesitant to even speak of it here. But given how this journal is meant to be an honest record of my experiences as a writer and author, I would feel dishonest leaving it out. Yesterday, first time ever, I found myself crying because of what I was writing. It came on very suddenly, and I had to stop and step away for awhile before finishing the scene. I know I was crying for Imp. There are other reasons, too, which I'm not going to spell out. But, later, I found myself thinking that this has to be the last novel of this sort I write, at least for the foreseeable future. It's too terrible and too personal. I find myself not wanting to let anyone see this one, ever. I felt that way a little with Daughter of Hounds, then even more so with The Red Tree. But it's never been this strong, the urge to lock the book away and not subject it to editors and reviewers and Amazon reader comments and people mouthing off on their blogs. It's just too personal, and I suppose I have no one to blame but myself. No one forces me to write these particular stories, to keep picking at these particular scabs. But, yeah. Last time. And then I'm going off to write YA, and tell wondrous stories, and they'll be dark, sure. They'll be true. But they sure as fuck won't be this. It sounds melodramatic, I know, but the truth is I'm making myself sicker, writing this novel, and it's not worth the toll it's taking.

It's okay if that didn't make much sense. Like Imp's story, it's mostly just for me.

At best, I'm halfway through the novel.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,106 words on Chapter 5, and finally reached the end of the longest chapter I've ever written.

--

Not much else to say about yesterday. We watched the new episode of Fringe, which, of course, was very good. Then we watched the first two episodes of Season Two of Spartacus. Gods, I'd forgotten how much I love this show. Sheer and utter fucking debauchery and depravity, unabashed, unapologetic. All fucking id, top to bottom. It's nowhere near as well written as was Deadwood, but I think it has much the same appeal for me. Later, we played a little WoW. I think I got to bed about 3:45 a.m. (CaST).

Gonna go now. Comments would be especially welcome today.
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Yesterday, I wrote another 2,292 words of Chapter 5 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I begin to suspect this is the bottomless chapter. This book, its become a fever, and the pages are a fevered blur. Part of me says, slow down, slow down, I'm going to break it, but this other part of me is insisting, no, no, the speed of the telling is integral, its a confession and there's no way she'd write it slowly, so neither can I. Maybe I'll try to explain, someday, how I'm a "method writer."

Today I have to try to write the "hardest scene," or only the second hardest. Hard on Imp, and hard on me.

The nightmares are worse than they've been in a long time. A tumult of calamity and past events that never actually occurred.

The new issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology came yesterday, December 2010. It was late, in part because it was shipped with a huge memoir describing a pugnacious little terrestrial croc named Simosuchus. There's also the description of a new genus and species of bothremydid turtle, Chupacabrachelys complexus. The name's etymology deserves a moment of explanation. To quote the paper's authors, "The chupacabra (Spanish for 'goat sucker') is a mythical creature in contemporary Mexican-American legend said to feed on livestock in the border region of Texas and Mexico. The skull of Chupacabrachelys resembles that of a mangy coyote believed to be responsible for chupacabra sightings in South Texas during 2008." Also, for the species, "In recognition of 'the Complex Tour' performance of the Blue Man Group, which provided the authors with many hours of entertainment during collection and preparation of the type and referred specimens."

I left the house late yesterday and went to the market and an art supply store with Spooky. I was amazed at how much the snow hasn't melted. Everything is still blanketed. There are banks of snow five and six feet high where snowplows and shovels have heaped it. The Providence River below the Point Street Bridge is frozen over.

Good roleplay in Insilico last night (thank you, Tracy). It's been just a little more than a year since I discovered Insilico. And while it didn't live up to the embarrassingly optimistic hype I ladled over it, I've found that the sim does, nonetheless, provide a fine backdrop for private cyberpunk rp. Spooky and I played WoW, and I'm still liking the Twilight Highlands. Last night, for the first time since I started playing in October 2008, I found myself holding more than 20,000 gold. No, I haven't ever done raids, and most of the money I make in WoW comes from auctions and quests.

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

More snow last night.

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

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

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

A razor-sharp crap-shoot affair...

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions.

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

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

17 January 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
1. I slept almost eight hours. Sure, I had to take half a Seroquel (which would be 12.5 mg) to get to sleep, but then at least I did sleep. I hate how I've become dependent on sleep aids again. And pills like Seroquel that aren't actually sleep aids, but allow me to sleep. I'm still very tired, but at least I know my body rested.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours in Simmering Disbelief,
Aunt Beast

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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