greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
No, there's been no writing. And what the fuck point is there in making an entry about how there's been no writing since I finished "The Eighth Veil," way back on the ninth? Not a whole lot. At least I have moved beyond lying in bed, and have actually spent the last two days at the keyboard not writing. Somehow, that entails slightly less guilt than not writing from bed. Less guilt, more frustration. My masochistic "soul" probably figures the pain incurred staring at the blank MS Word "page" earns me less guilt. It's not writing, but at least it's another sort of suffering, so I'm cut some slack.

I will try again today. Today, I will try harder than I tried yesterday.

The snow hasn't all melted away, but it's going fast.

I admit I have paused in my not writing to gaze in horror at the internet kerfuffle surrounding Evelyn Evelyn. I know people are stupid, but sometimes I forget just how stupid people can be, especially on the goddamn internet. I've really had enough of the good soldiers of the web, fighting their ignorant, petty wars for truth, light, and squeamish political correctness. Spooky came into the office, night before last, to try and tell me about the people flaming Amanda over the Evelyn Evelyn backstory. And it's not often I'm rendered speechless, but speechless was I rendered. Finally, I was able to sputter something like, "These fuckwits know Ziggy Stardust was really David Bowie, right?" Yeah, it's that stupid. There are people who live to be offended, to disapprove. And no, I'm not linking to the stupid. If you want to see, use Google.

Life's to goddamn short for this nonsense. To quote Jeffrey Goines, "Fuck the bozos!"

Well, at least I do have these photographs, the railroad bridge photos I promised day before yesterday. I will refer you to Daughter of Hounds. If you have the trade paperback, you may turn to page 238. If you have the paperback, it's page 205. If you have the trade paperback and the paperback, I love you.

15 February 2010, Pt. 2 )
greygirlbeast: (goat girl)
This morning, I awoke to the world gone white again. On the one hand, it ruins plans I had for tonight. On the other, the snow has smoothed off all the sharp edges of winter and decently hidden the wide carnivorous sky from view.

No work yesterday, but I knew there wouldn't be. I am going to try today.

Spooky and I spent the afternoon exploring a small bit of Providence, between the Providence and Seekonk rivers. I saw places I'd not seen before, or at least never seen up close. We started at India Point, south of Wickenden Street. But the wind was too bitter to stay out very long. We found shelter in the lee of the Hurricane Barrier, where the Providence River empties into Narrgansett Bay. The massive steel and concrete barrier was built in 1966, after two hurricanes flooded the city, and guards against storm surge. Later, we headed east, back towards the Seekonk. I was feeling a little intrepid, so we explored the old drawbridge and railroad across the river. These are locations from Daughter of Hounds. When Emmie goes out in the snowstorm, and ends up at the abandoned tunnel, this is the way she walked. We briefly debated looking for the tunnel entrance, but decided we weren't feeling quite that intrepid. I took lots of photos. Spooky also took a few. I'll post the best of them today and tomorrow (the photos relevant to Daughter of Hounds will go up tomorrow).

Before heading home, we stopped by Whole Foods. For dinner, Spooky made a meatloaf with gorgonzola, sun-dried tomatoes, and wild mushrooms. We read more of The Talisman. I dozed. And I'm getting these things out of order, out of the order in which they occurred, but it hardly matters.

Photos behind the cut:

15 February 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Honestly not a whole lot to say, and I'd probably be better off not even making this entry. But I'm trying to maintain some semblance of order in what seems an increasingly disordered life.

We may have snow incoming.

The depression, the crazy, all that shit, it doesn't usually keep me from working. Usually, it's the fuel. But I've lost the last four days, and I'll lose today. I can only hope tomorrow will be better. Yesterday, I sat here for two or three hours, trying to throw a spark. I managed to find a title for "Untitled 35." I'm going to call it "The Eighth Veil" (thank you, Patti Smith). That was my grand moment of creativity yesterday, that title. Oh, and deciding that if I ever do another collection of science-fiction stories it will be called HOPE is a Four-Letter Word. After that, I lay in bed and Spooky read to me from Peter Straub and Stephen King's The Talisman, which I've been wanting to reread (and which Spooky has never read).

If I owe you an email, I'll try to get to it soon. But not today.

At night, there's been roleplay in Insilico, which has been an odd sort of comfort. For solace, I retreat into the shadows of fictions that are not entirely (or even mostly) my own. It's one thing to be the sole voice weaving a story. It's another thing to be only a single voice in a multitude, and to watch the "novel" write itself around you. Xiang 1.5 is being kept safe by her owner, Omika, who's determined not to lose another Xiang. Xiang 2.0a builds it's lunatic universe inside a briefcase. And Molly Longshadow has released the Nareth clone into the city, in an attempt to track down a particularly nasty serial killer. But, in this case, the cure may be worse than the disease. There was an especially wonderful rp last night between Molly and Nareth, just before the clone was discharged from the Gemini Corporation's medical facility, that was so good I might try to get the transcript up. There are three screencaps behind the cut. Today...Spooky's making me risk Outside, as I've not gone out since Thursday.

Insilico Personae )
greygirlbeast: (goat girl)
1. No, I'm not dead. Though, round about night before last, it would have been preferable. I am much, much better this morning, so hopefully I'm quickly recovering. Tiger Balm patches are a marvelous thing. Now, if my body would just shutdown the mucus pumps for a while. But, seriously...people are always asking, why do you never go anywhere or do anything? I say, "Because I'll get sick. I look at a crowd of people, and all I see are hundreds of billions of virulent germs." People scoff and call me silly. I go Outside. I get sick. And then I lose writing time I can't afford to lose. Now, yeah, I know it's very bad for me, never leaving the house, but being shut down for five or six days to some bug isn't very good for me, either. It's a damned conundrum.

2. I've spent most of the past two days in bed. There was a lot of TV (on laptop via DVD) and a lot of reading, mostly, Spooky reading aloud to me. We finished Peter Straub's very, very wonderful A Dark Matter (due out February 9th). I'm going to say more about it when I'm a bit more articulate, but it really is a grand novel. I also read more of the December issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology— "Comparison and biomechanical interpretations of the vertebrae and osteoderms of Cacops aspidephorus and Dissorophus multicinctus (Temnospondyli; Dissorophoridae)," and "A possible new ctenosauriscid archosaur from the Middle Triassic Manda Beds of Tanzania." And I began the paper on the pedal morphology of the "marsupial lion," Thylacoleo, one of the the most splendidly bizarre bits of evolutionary tinkering known thus far. It makes Spooky start talking about "blender mammals." Also, we watched all of Season Five of Weeds in two nights.

3. On Wednesday, the February National Geographic arrived. Had I not already been sick, the cover story would have done it. Some ancient old Mormon extremist fucker with five wives, forty-six children, and 239 grandchildren. Recall David Szydloski's modest proposal from The World Without Man? I quoted it at length. Now, I know it's a fairy tale of sanity and restraint, expecting a human reproduction rate of one child per each man and woman. I know that perfectly well. But...here we have six adults who, rather than producing about twenty new humans (which would be in keeping with the worldwide average), they've squirted out a total of 285. I think I'm going to have to tear the cover off before I can read this issue.

4. I did manage a very small amount of writing. Very, very small. 410 words on Wednesday, and the day before that, Tuesday, 204. That's how bad this week has been. Monday, I've got to call my agent and talk about the feasibility of certain deadlines.

5. I am officially puking sick to fucking death (this has nothing to do with my plague, different kinda sick) of reactionary internet twitwad word police who seem to exist for no other reason than to get pissed at the drop of a hat. Which is to say, if I proclaim "I'm no one's bitch," I am not feeding into so-called "rape culture" (see the last paragraph of this entry by Himself if you are wondering what I'm on about). This is almost as fucked-up as the jackass on Twitter who accused me of encouraging discrimination against transgendered people. By the way, as it happens, I am Spooky's bitch. And the platypus'. But that's all. The bitch line ends there.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
2009 is winding down fast. Winding down, wrapping up, whichever. And a strange year it has been. Every year, the years grow shorter— at least when viewed from my subjective personal perspective —shorter and more bizarre. Every year, I feel a greater degree of cognitive disconnect between NOW and THEN, and find it increasingly difficult to reconcile the past with the present; the future, somehow, seems more solid than the present.

No writing yesterday. I did send "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics" to subpress, but it would be a lie to say that was work. Yesterday earns an L, as it was a lost day. However, were I to try to explain why, I'd only get myself into a mood that would make working today extremely unlikely. So, let's just say nothing was written.

The most peculiar thing about "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics" is that it contains no contractions. Not a single one. It was a conscious nod to the style employed by Silverberg when he wrote Nightwings. And it yielded an oddly formal, and oddly innocent, voice. Nothing I would likely ever do again, but it worked for this story.

Yesterday, I had a long hot bath. I napped. Day before yesterday, I finished reading the paper on Tethyshadros and began reading "A new basal sauropodomorph dinosaur from the upper Elliot Formation [Lower Jurassic] of South Africa."

There's a photo behind the cut that I took on Monday, of a rather daunting ice/snow formation hanging from the roof of the house next door:

An Accident Waiting )
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Yesterday was almost, and perhaps actually, a total loss, so far as writing is concerned. I managed only 285 words on "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics," and then I just...locked up. I couldn't tell if what I was writing was good enough. I was suddenly no longer certain if any part of the story was anything but trite, hollow...and so I locked up. I sat here another hour or so, angry and baffled and aware that it might all have stemmed from my having used Ambien to get to sleep Tuesday morning. Finally, Spooky said I should get up, that we should get out of the house. And so we did.

Though it was late in the day when we left, we headed across town to the Bell Gallery (Brown University) at 64 College Street, which is currently featuring Rachel Berwick's installation "Zugunruhe." Berick's work generally concerns species that have recently become extinct, or were thought to be extinct until recently, or may soon be extinct— the Tasmanian tiger, the Galapagos tortoise, the coelacanth, etc. "Zugunruhe" is devoted to the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), a bird that once inhabited North America in almost unimaginable numbers, but was wiped out during the 1800's by hunting and deforestation. The species was effectively extinct in the wild by the early 20th Century. The last captive specimen died at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914 (the last authenticated sighting in the wild was made in Pike County, Ohio, on March 22, 1900).

The instillation is startling in its simplicity. First, we are greeted by an enormous copy of Audubon's 1840 Birds of America (five feet wide when opened), displaying his life-sized illustration of the passenger pigeon. And then there are grey walls on which have been recorded excerpts from the writings of 19th Century naturalists and hunters, describing the almost unbelievable size of Ectopistes migratorius flocks. On a pedestal stands a glass bell jar or globe, inside of which is an odd contraption with a large brass needle which rotates erratically, almost compass like, both recalling migratory instincts and pointing to the quotes on the walls. The final part of the instillation is a great heptagonal glass case in a darkened room. The case contains a tree, and the branches of the tree are festooned with hundreds of passenger pigeons cast in orange copal (a million or so years old, an immature form of amber).

By the way, "zugunruhe" is a an obscure German ornithological term for the nighttime restlessness displayed by migratory birds.

---

Leaving the gallery, just as the bells at Brown were tolling four p.m. (EST), I had a minor absence seizure. Which may explain the trouble I'd been having with the story, as work often becomes difficult before a seizure. We stopped by the market before heading home. There was Chinese takeout for dinner, as no one felt like cooking. We streamed a truly dreadful film from Netflix, Thora Birch and some other people in Sean McConville's Deadline (2009). This has to be one of the dullest films of the year, and I'm not sure why we didn't shut it off after the first twenty minutes. I will say, the ghost story is one of the most difficult supernatural tales to pull off effectively, especially in film, and one does not manage that trick by regurgitating every tiresome gimmick from the last decade of American and Japanese cinema (most of which never worked to begin with). Avoid this film. And you might also want to avoid WoW until after the "holidays," as its been infested with inappropriate Xmas idiocy again. We quested a bit in remote parts of the Howling Fjord and reached Level 71. There was a genuinely creepy encounter with the Lich King inside a sepulcher at the Vrykul city of Gjalerbron. Shaharrazad and Suraa slew the Vrykul queen Angerboda as she was attempting to resurrect King Ymiron. But the Lich King made a brief appearance and spirited the two giants away.

And that was yesterday. But there are photos:

15 December 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
Yesterday was an appalling day. I do not feel like going into the details, but I've had it with the doctor I've been seeing, so now I have to find a new one, which isn't an easy thing. It wasn't easy to find the one I've been seeing. But I will no longer be treated as I have been treated since I came to Providence. I'm pretty sure there are animals in slaughterhouses that are handled more humanely. I am very much missing my doctor in Birmingham. She was my doctor for twenty years, even when I lived in Athens and Atlanta, I still went back to Birmingham for her. She wasn't renowned for her tact and bedside manner, but she also wasn't a complete fucking idiot.

No, nothing was accomplished yesterday, nothing at all.

Oh, well...I suppose something was, sort of. When we made it back from the hell that was the doctor's appointment, Spooky had to take the car into the shop, as it had suddenly begun hemorrhaging coolant. Turns out the water pump was blown, and they installed a new one, setting us back $250 (after the expense of the idiot doctor). So, at least the car is hale and hardy again.

Today, I hope to begin a new vignette for Sirenia Digest #48.

I have an email this morning, from a reader who writes, "I was shocked to discover Alabaster isn't available on the Kindle. Please, raise my hopes and tell me it's coming soon?" Sorry, but no. There are currently no plans for a Kindle edition of Alabaster. And remember, this sort of decision isn't up to me.

Last night, we watched Chan-wook Park's Bakjwi (2009; aka Thirst), which was a nice tonic against Stephanie Meyer and her simpering spawn. A beautifully filmed vampire movie that manages to be sexy, bloody, and funny, and I don't even care that great swaths of it made no sense whatsoever. Definitely the best vampire film I've seen since Tomas Alfredson's Låt den rätte komma in (2008). Earlier this year, when Bakjwi was playing in Boston, [livejournal.com profile] sovay asked us if we wanted to see it with her. For one reason or another, we passed. I wish we hadn't, as it would have looked great on a big screen.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, and also note that Spooky has five more of her Cephalopodmas ornaments remaining. Right now, a little "extra" cash wouldn't hurt. Thanks.

And Thanksgiving can go fuck itself, please and thank you.
greygirlbeast: (starbuck2)
Yesterday, I finally gave up and shelved "The Wolves, The Witch, and the Weald," which is the short story that I've been trying to write since the end of October. I never even made it through the first paragraph. I have managed to write nothing of consequence since I finished "The Dissevered Heart" on October 23rd. That's 23 days, not counting today. Yes, I did write a proposal for the next novel, but synopses, proposals, and outlines do not count as actual writing. And I have no idea what's going on. I'm not even particularly exhausted. I've been productive when I was far more weary than I've been this month. But it has to end now. I spent all day yesterday, as I have spent most days this month, staring at the blank "page" in MS Word, trying to get started. There are deadlines, and there are editors, and there are publishers, and there are bills to be paid, and none of these things are interested in excuses, no matter how valid they may be.

I finally let myself step away from the iMac about 4 p.m., and read William Browning Spencer's "The Ocean and All It's Devices." I'd not encountered this short story since its original publication in Borderlands 4, way back in 1994. It's still one of my favorite "Lovecraftian" stories (not to be confused with "Mythos" tales), and was pleased to see it reprinted in the Subterranean Press collection of the same title.

Last night, after dinner, Spooky and I watched the second episode of the remake of V, which was, if anything, even duller and possessed of less promise than the premiere. I've been told that only three episodes have been filmed, which I suspect means that only three will be filmed. We also watched Caprica, which I liked, though I'd sort of expected not to (though I'm not sure why). The series begins January 22nd, and it will be interesting to see if it is as strong as the pilot.

It's been strangely warm here in Providence. Mid sixties yesterday.

Saturday night, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark dropped by, and we were up until after four a.m. talking about...well, lots of things. I feel as though I have been eerily social of late, but I think it's something I'm going to need, if I'm to make it through the coming winter.

Spooky has begun a series of Cthulhu-themed Cephalopodmas ornaments, and the first three went up yesterday on her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks. One has already sold.

Also, we have a single copy of the trade edition of The Dry Salvages, long sold out and out of print, now up on eBay.

Spooky and I are making our way through House of Leaves again (sixth time?), and late last night I noted this bit, from a Truant footnote on pg. 31 of the "Remastered Full-Color Edition":

The way I figure it, if there's something you find irksome—go ahead and skip it. I couldn't care less how you read any of this. His wandering passages are staying, along with all his oddly canted phrases and even some warped bits in the plot. There's just too much at stake. It may be the wrong decision, but fuck it, it's mine.

Now, I think I may have a short walk before I try, again, to write.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
There's not a whole lot to say about yesterday. I did not "hammer out" the proposal for Blood Oranges. Instead, I sat here all day, making notes for the book, trying to find something like a plot. That provisional plot I inevitably use for proposals, which often looks very little like the finished book. I think I may include the proposal for The Red Tree in Sirenia Digest #48, as an example, because I read back over it yesterday, and I truly am grateful the book described therein is not the book I ended up writing. It'll be the same way this time, but even knowing that makes this no easier. I'm just no good at "hammering out" prose, even provisional prose. My response to the received wisdom of writing instructors and workshops that one should never be afraid of writing a bad first draft...well, it's rude, my response, and centers on my general unwillingness to write anything badly.

I did come up with two names yesterday, the name of the narrator (yes, it's another first-person narrative)— India Phelps —and the name of her lover— Eva Canning. I lifted Eva from "Werewolf Smile," from Sirenia Digest #45, though this Eva will be a very different Eva from that Eva. It's not much, but it's a start.

I am thinking that today I'll be going to a library to continue my notes and the working out of this puzzle, in hopes that by tomorrow I'll be ready to write the proposal/synopsis thing, however provisional it might be. And I still have a short story to write for Bill Schafer at subpress this month, and two pieces to write for Sirenia Digest #48. That means I have, at best, twenty days remaining to get all this work done, having lost most of those first ten days of November.

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

I forgot to mention that Spooky and I read and adored David Petersen's Mouseguard Fall 1152, and are now looking forward to Winter 1152.

However, last night we watched the series premiere of the V remake (it really is a remake, and not a "reboot"), thanks to Hulu, and I was not so impressed. Thing is, I was never much of a fan of the original series, and I saw very little last night that improved upon it. Sure, Morena Baccarin does a superb job, and is extremely easy on the eyes. But that's about all the first episode had going for it. Partly, it's that this new V is weighed down by the blandness that usually infects network television. Interchangeable, forgettable characters reciting forgettable, interchangeable dialogue. I'll watch again next week, but I'm no longer optimistic.

And now I need to get dressed and slip out into the chilly grey day.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
I think this is what is meant by being between a rock and a hard place.

Yesterday, insomnia and another migraine prevented me from getting any work done, and so I still have not begun Sirenia Digest #47, and I'm running out of month. Plus, I have to be in Manhattan on the 27th, and I have the Brown reading on the evening of the 24th. The interviews are mostly out of the way. At least that's something.

I don't think I've blown a month this badly in...well, a very long time.

If you've not already, please have a look at this round of eBay auctions. There's some stuff we've not offered in quite a while, and one or two things we may not offer ever again. Thanks.

I was amused (I think that's the word) to discover a quest in WoW, something with the Night Elves about rejuvenating the "Staff of Equinex." The n'elfs are moon-worshipping "Druids," but there's often this sense that Blizzard is not entirely comfortable with the paganism they've interjected into the game. There are these half-hearted attempts at disguising it, such as this "Staff of Equinex" quest, wherein not only is the word "equinox" misspelled, but so are the four sabbats that are the subject of the quest: "Samha" (Samhain), ""Imbel" (Imbolc), "Byltane" (Beltane), and "Lahassa" (Lammas, Lughnasadh). Of course, maybe this is supposed to be funny, and I simply failed to appreciate the joke. To be fair, all the Christian holy days referred to in the game also have their names disguised and are watered down to their secular aspects.

I wish there were a time store. I need to buy one week. Maybe two.

It rained all day yesterday, here in Providence. Cold, cold rain. But, further north, in Boston, there was snow, so I figure we were lucky. I do understand that there has already been snow in Rhode Island this year, in Cranston. Today, the sun is out, and the day is bright, but still cold.

We finished Season Four of Weeds night before last. I love this show. Not quite as much as I love Californication, but I do love it. Both are brilliant in their satire of the mess that is America in the early 21st Century. Both use comedy not as a mere distraction, but social satire. In Californication, we have a debauched womanizing writer who seems to be the only man (or woman) in Los Angeles who isn't a misogynist, and in Weeds, which exposes all the ugliness and hypocrisy of suburbia, a pot-dealing Nancy Botkin turns out to be a better mother than most. Both shows make skillful use of inversion, presenting "dysfunctional" as the norm and the "American dream" as a nightmare we can't wake up from, no matter how hard we try. But, most importantly, they're funny and very well-written shows. And, I have to admit, I love it when the hopeless fuck-ups are the "good guys." Thank you, Showtime.

Time to try to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
I got absolutely nothing done yesterday. Nothing. A headache started late on Wednesday night, and by yesterday morning was a full-blown migraine. There was not even the hope of writing. I spent much of the day in bed, delirious, dozing, nauseous, and all that fun crap. Finally, very late last night, it backed off. I didn't have to use the power drill.

The month is falling away, and I'm not even sure I've got a decent beginning to my Mars story. I still have that to get written, and Sirenia Digest #47, and something proposal-like for Penguin on the next novel. So, yeah, three stories in twenty-three days. Still feasible, but only just, especially given that I'll be in Manhattan on the 27th, and have the Brown University reading on the 24th. And two interviews. I think I'm about forty-eight hours from panic. I can't panic, of course, because then I'll squander what time I have left. It all has to get done, period.

At least I have managed to get The Ammonite Violin & Others to subpress. Oh, and I have an announcement. The cover art and end papers will be done by Richard A. Kirk, the first time we've gotten to work together since he did the illustration for "Salammbô Redux" for the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder.

And speaking of Manhattan on the 27th, I've just gotten word that the launch party/reading/signing for Ellen Datlow's Lovecraft Unbound will be held at the Soho Gallery of Digital Art at 138 Sullivan Street on the 27th (a Tuesday) at 7 p.m., with doors open to the public at 6:30. I'll be there, along with Elizabeth Bear, Michael Cisco, and Richard Bowes.

This is one of those days I just want the world to end. Sorry, but it needed to be said.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Today, I will punish myself with work.

I can think of no more hideous act of self castigation than forcing oneself to write, or attend to all the nonsense that comes with being an author.

My fingers will bleed before I'm done.

---

I have a rough sketch from Vince, for "Shipwrecks Above." I think this will be a rather nice, if entirely brutal, issue of Sirenia Digest. Then again, I doubt there's anything as brutal as was last month's "Werewolf Smile."

Today will, in fact, be a day of loose threads.

---

There is almost nothing worth saying about yesterday. I spent most of the afternoon in bed, recovering from the Everlasting Migraine. I despise myself when they drive me to bed. I had a bath. I watched another irredeemable day slip past.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Yes...I write about how I've been neglecting the blog, and how I will now cease neglecting the blog, and proceed to neglect the blog all over again.

But, truthfully, there has been very little to say, which makes me reluctant to say anything.

I've been trying to get a new vignette started, for Sirenia Digest #46, something to accompany "Shipwrecks Above." But so far nothing. I did make a halfhearted effort to clean the office on Thursday to clean my office, and it is cleaner. The rest of the week is a blur.

So, yes...Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press has confirmed that the Alabaster trade paperback is now sold out. There are no plans for a second printing. There are, however, a few copies of A is for Alien remaining.

And, of course, The Red Tree.

---

Yesterday, after I discovered that nothing would get written, we drove down to Saunderstown, to Spooky's parents' place. The day was chilly, but too bright, too blue. The trees are just beginning to turn.

I hardly saw summer. I can't imagine that I'm prepared for autumn.
greygirlbeast: (starbuck2)
So...yesterday was another "lost day." That's four consecutive days to have earned an "L" in my day planner when I could not afford even one. I cannot recall the last time this happened. It's not the same as days during which I try to work, and nothing comes. Those are just dry work days. I mean days when I do not even try. Today, I have to get moving again. My stillness builds momentum, and that's terrifying.

Here in Providence, the weather has gone from summer to autumn in the space of a few days. I wasn't ready for it. As miserable as we were during our two weeks of summer, I was not ready for autumn.

Autumn is always the season of dying, just as winter is the season of death before the rebirth of spring.

Nothing much worth mentioning yesterday.

Late in the day, around five p.m. or so, we drove down to Spooky's parents' place in Saunderstown. It was a beautiful drive once we left the interstate, and it was the first time I'd left the House since Wednesday. We only visited a short while. But the air smelled wonderful, and it was good to be Outside, despite the evening chill. We came away with yellow tomatoes, blueberry preserves her dad made, eggs, and basil. There's a photo of Spooky playing with Spider (whom we are now calling Luciano, for reasons that should be obvious):



Anyway, I will go now and see if I can make something less than wasted from this day.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
I should try to make this brief. Usually, I say that, and then spiral off into long-winded entries.

Another scorcher here in Providence, but the meteorologists say help is on the way. Right now, it's 84F with a heat index of 88F. In the House, it's 83F. Our plan is to head to the air-conditioned sanctuary of a library today, where I'll get some more work done on notes for this month's Sirenia Digest and the next novel. But tomorrow I have to get back to actually writing. I'd hoped to get through two issues of the digest this month, but now I fear, between one disruption and another, I'll be hard pressed just to manage the one.

There's a new review of The Red Tree up at Cinema Suicide. Generally, very positive, and it raises valid concerns, especially about marketing, some of which we have recently discussed here.

I hope to get some work done on the website tonight.

This weekend, I should be delivering the final ms. for The Ammonite Violin & Others to Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press.

After the dreaded doctor's appointment yesterday, Spooky rewarded me for not having bitten anyone (she hates when they have to use the muzzle on me), and we drove down to South County and Moonstone Beach where it was much cooler than here in Providence. There were more people than usual at Moonstone, also trying to escape the heat. The beach roses were all heavy with ripe red rose hips. The day was too hazy to see across the sound to Block Island. I picked through the cobbles and pebbles for mermaid's tears, and then headed up into the dunes, just to dig about in the sand. Spooky waded a bit, but said the water was very cold. A few people were swimming, regardless. We stayed until sunset, and it made me feel much, much better. There are a few photos:

18 August 2009 )


Also, I wanted to repost my to-be-read before year's end list, because I left something off:

Spook Country* by William Gibson
Steampunk edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker
Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert (re-read)
Children of Dune by Frank Herbert (re-read)
Dinosaurs of Italy* by Cristiano Dal Sasso
Doomsday Men* by P. D. Smith
Palimpsest by Catherynne Valente
Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand
Hubert's Freaks by Gregory Gibson

Also, yesterday, someone brought Peter Watts' "Rifters Trilogy" to my attention yesterday. I've never read Watts, but his deep-adapted humanoids has me rethinking my Homo sapiens natator story.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Ugh. Presently 86F Outside (feels like 93F with heat index), and 84F indoors. Since last night, I've been running my homemade AC in the office: a small electrical fan blowing across a metal bowl of ice. It helps a little. Still much too hot to work, though. We're supposed to get some relief day after tomorrow. I fall ever farther behind.

And today I have to go to the damn, dratted doctor, in less than five hours. I'm waiting on a pardon from the governor.

No writing yesterday. About 3 p.m., Spooky and I finally couldn't take the heat inside any longer, so we fled into the heat Outside. Well, as a means to AC. We had lunch at Trinity Brewhouse, and I had my first hamburger since last summer, only my second since moving to Rhode Island. I needed red meat desperately. After lunch, we crossed the street to the central branch of the Providence Public Library, and spent maybe an hour more hiding from the sun, browsing the shelves. We thought about a late matinée of Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo, but it's not showing at the theatre we usually frequent, and I wasn't up to anything new. Instead, we went to the market and got watermelon and the makings for a cold dinner.

Back home we did manage to get a little work done editing the "book trailer" for The Red Tree. It's slowly coming together, though we may need to shoot a little more footage. We have a musical score now, thanks to Mike Watson of the Providence band Spinde Shanks. Also, I was invited to show the trailer, and read, at The Fledgling Festival here in Providence. However, I'm not at all sure the film will be ready in time. So much left to do, and this heat has really slowed us down. So, I'll likely read there, but screening the film is only a maybe.

That was pretty much yesterday, except for a little reading, a lot of sweating, and level grinding in WoW.

My thanks for all the feedback regarding the cover of The Red Tree. The consensus seems to be that yes, a lot of men are uncomfortable with, or simply disinterested in, covers that smack of PR, as the cover of The Red Tree does (more consensus), even though it isn't a PR book (still more consensus). Anyway, thanks. By the way, it would definitely not be showing support for me if you refused to buy this book because I dislike the cover. That would be exactly the opposite of support.

However, at this stage, what would be very, very helpful is if every single one of you who has read and enjoyed the book would say so on Amazon.com (or wherever), on your own blogs, Twitter, Facebook, wherever. It doesn't have to be an in-depth review. It doesn't have to be artful and articulate. Just a positive mention, spreading the word. Putting in a link to the novel or my website (or both). And if you could request your local library to order, that's another good way of helping with promotion. Word of mouth is probably the best promotional tool I could hope for at this point. Thanks.

Also, I will remind you of the current eBay auctions.

I thought I would post all the titles in my current "to be read" stack, some of which are presently being read (they have an asterisk after the title). It is my goal to get through these titles by the end of the year:

Spook Country* by William Gibson
Steampunk edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker
Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert (re-read)
Children of Dune by Frank Herbert (re-read)
Dinosaurs of Italy* by Cristiano Dal Sasso
Doomsday Men* by P. D. Smith
Palimpsest by Catherynne Valente
Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand

And now...I should be going. Feed the Tree.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Summer has finally come to Providence, and with a vengeance. Right now, the temperature inside and Outside are identical, 82F. Well, that's the temperature out in the middle parlour, where Dr. Muñoz is blasting, vainly trying to combat the heat. It's likely warmer here in my office. The lights are off, to make it at least seem cooler. After I finish this, and get dressed, we're fleeing the House for genuine air conditioning.

Nothing was written yesterday. Nothing was written again.

But I was confronted with the curious proposition that the cover of The Red Tree may be off-putting to some men. It's off-putting to me, but for purely artistic reasons, and because it's not appropriate in tone to the novel. But I'm getting off track. The following comments were made on Facebook (I'm withholding the commentators name), and I quote:

The cover for The Red Tree is well done, but it practically commands, “You, male child, don’t buy me.” I’ll bet nearly all of your male readers will buy it online and consider it a “guilty pleasure.”

I was on the plane the other day, reading a book of the same genre. (You could tell from the cover: pretty young woman in black, looking down and away, full moon and glowing gothic hoodoo behind her.) And I could feel how I was making the man to my left (with the competently written spy/cop novel) uncomfortable. The power of marketing...
(ellipses divide two comments)...It's well done for what it is, I should say. I've seen much worse. But, yeah, it's a "paranormal romance" cover. Men aren't supposed to read those. If you buy one at Barnes and Noble, you need to have an it's-for-my-girlfriend/wife/niece excuse ready in case you get a male cashier (or a female who gives you a curious look).

Now, first off, this all seems awfully sexist to me. Or maybe not necessarily sexist, but certainly smacking of male insecurities. But secondly and most importantly, I spent a good deal of the day worrying whether or not it might be true. Has Roc, by marketing this novel with the generic "paranormal romance" cover (it is not, of course, a PR novel), alienated potential male readers? It seems absurd, but then much of human behaviour seems absurd to me. Most, in fact. So, here's the question: Do you think this cover is geared towards a female readership and is off-putting to male readers? Sort of a two-part question, I suppose.

I'm going to discuss this matter with my lit agent when she returns from her summer vacation.

Spooky has begun a new round of eBay auctions.

Also, there's a new bit of "evidence" up on the website, the addition of Plate XX.

Officially too hot to continue. Maybe I'll go sit beneath a cold shower. Maybe I will spend the day dreaming of icy moons, their oceans safe below the rime.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
This isn't going to be much of a blog entry. I'm on hour 41+ of a headache, and my coherency level is not very high. Also, it's 84F in the house, and poor Dr. Muñoz, parked in my office, can hardly make a dint in the heat. Oh, a favor please. No headache advice. Or AC advice, either. When I finish this, I'll take a cool bath, and try to clear my head. My dreams culminated in fire.

There was no writing yesterday, no work. A lost day. "L" in the day planner.

I have a doctor's appointment in two days, and I dread it more than I can say. It's one of those socially acceptable bodily violations, the casual, careless, expensive ministrations of a physician.

"Is small life so manic?
Are these really the days?
Poor dunce..."

I'm mostly very pleased with how The Red Tree is doing, and with the reviews I've seen thus far. Sure, it could be selling better, but that's almost always the case. I have mixed feelings over its being received as a horror novel. People tell me how much it frightened them, and clearly they mean this as a compliment, and it would be rude of me, I know, to take it any other way. I am grateful for the compliments. But they also leave me confused. I didn't set out to write a horror novel. I'm still not sure that I see the book as a horror novel. Which is not to say that it does not contain elements of the horrific, for it surely does. It may be that "horror" has taken on too many negative connotations for me. It may also be that this is what I have inside me, horror and awe, terror and the uncanny, and that I have little else in me to send out into the world. And it's just a matter of my learning to accept this.

Okay. The headache is intent that I will say no more for now.
greygirlbeast: (white)
I'd certainly not planned not to make entries for the past two days. But there's been damned little to report. We were hit with a sort of micro-heatwave, compounded by outrageous humidity. Which pretty much made working in the House impossible. On top of that, I've been in a worse-than-usual funk, which I suspect is the comedown after last week (book release, filming at the Arboretum, hanging out in Boston, signing at Pandemonium, etc.). Add to that stress over book sales. So, I thought it best I stay away from the journal for a bit. Last night, the rains came, blocking our view of the Perseid meteor shower, but driving away the heat and rendering the House livable again.

But, we got out of here yesterday, and drove down to the public library in Peace Dale (1890-1891), one of my favorite libraries in the state. We'd meant to do this on Monday, and my week thus far might have been more productive if we had. But Monday was Victory Day, and Rhode Island is the last state in the Union that still celebrates it, and all the libraries were closed. Anyway, I sat in the Peace Dale public library, in the glorious AC, and for a while I only listened to an audiobook of Jeremy Irons reading Lolita. That seemed to jog my senses back to life, and I made pages of notes for the novel that I have to write next, beginning in September, now that The Red Tree is out in the wide, wide world. I think I may have found a plot, and I have to report it has nothing much to do with vampires. And though the working title is Blood Oranges, it also has nothing much to do with citrus. Later in the day, when I had no more notes to write, I read part of a biography of Walt Disney, which was fairly surreal after Jeremy Irons and Nabokov. The library closed at six, and we headed back to Providence. The rain caught us just as we made it back into the city. There's a fairly random set of photos below, behind the cut. Oh, I also mailed out three copies of The Red Tree yesterday, to various people to whom copies were owed.

There was a moderate seizure on the way to Peace Dale, and I hate when they happen in the car. But I was wearing my seat belt, and have no bruises or chewed mouth parts to show for it.

We've added a little bit of new content to the website (thank you, Chris), including a new video clip on the front page, and a free downloadable wallpaper based on the accumulated "evidence." (thank you, Nicola). Much more new content is on the way. Spooky's still editing the "trailer." And I very much want to encourage readers to submit potential content, whether it's visual art or additional "evidence" and scholarship related to the "red tree" and other phenomena at or near the old Wight Place. Just send it to me at greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com.

I received a marvelous care package yesterday from [livejournal.com profile] txtriffidranch, which included a copy of Cristiano Dal Sasso's Dinosaurs of Italy, which has been on my Amazon wishlist for about two years. Thank you, Paul.

Yesterday I also read a very, very good review of The Red Tree, one I have already called "extra splendid." I love it all the more because it was not written by a professional book reviewer. Increasingly, pro reviews seem to me like one-paragraph book reports. Anyway, you can read the review here. It is marvelously spoiler free, by the way.

Okay, today I must write. I'm three days behind schedule, at this point. Not much more to say, anyway. We've been watching Space: Above and Beyond, and proofreading The Ammonite Violin & Others, and eating things you don't have to cook.

11 July 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Barely four hours sleep last night. I woke just before 7 a.m., took another half Ambien, but to no avail. Anyone planning to attend ReaderCon should be forewarned: The stress and insomnia and seizures and winter have all taken a toll. You may or may not recognize me.

No writing yesterday, but that was planned. What wasn't planned was that the day would spin insanely out of control, devolving into an utter shitstorm of wasted time and frayed nerves. So, yesterday gets a big fat "L" in the day planner. Less than nothing was accomplished.

And yeah, I'm still twatting (tweeting, whatever). There I am, @greygirlbeat. As of this moment, I have 281 people following the...what do you call a stream of tweets? A tweetstream? A feed? No idea, but anyway, that's not bad for the first 24+ hours. I'm hoping to reach 1,000 by the end of July. It's a sort of goal I've set for myself. To determine whether or not Rachael is merely an experiment, and nothing more. And here I am now, on Blogger, LiveJournal, Myspace, Facebook, Dreamwidth, and, now, Twitter. Which makes me incalculably more connected than I would be, were there not this necessity for promotion. Were I only Thomas Ligotti or Thomas Pynchon, or if the blasted books would sell themselves.

One thing that worries me —— and I cannot say this is new, as it has worried me for years, since I started the blog over at Blogger (and probably Usenet before that, back to '94), probably: All of this networking and reporting on the ups and downs on my day-to-day life, the ongoing, ceaseless catalog of profundities and the mundane, it changes that which it records. For so long now, I have been aware that I'll do a thing, go to a museum or a concert, a movie or the sea, and all the while I'm thinking, in some part of my mind, won't this make a good blog entry (or conversely, too bad this won't...). And how could I make it an even better blog entry. It's a bit like the old problem of wave-particle duality, or the trouble any anthropologist will encounter, attempting not to change the thing she observes. How different would each of these experiences be, if I were not aware that I would be reporting them to the world? I can't know, of course. X = the change wrought by my foreknowledge that I am living a life others will watch, even if only in a highly edited form, online. It worries me, and I'd be a liar if I said otherwise.

But it seems to have become inescapable, especially for those of us who are authors, or musicians, or painters, or some other art that needs the Word to Get Out There. If we ignore these technologies, our art may suffer, though we can never know that how or by how much. We can call that part of the equation N. The value of uncertainty. And, of course, just as awareness of the blogs and tweets to come will perforce alter various experiences, so to will they alter the things we write and paint and photograph and compose and so forth. Call that unknown value Y.

Just thoughts I cannot help but think. And yeah, this problem existed before the internet, but the last fifteen years or so (and especially in the last five or six, as these communication technologies accelerate towards...whatever) it has worsened dramatically.

A book I need to find and read: The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage (1998), on 19th-Century information overload.

Today, though I am not awake, we will go forth and seek the tree that will stand in for the eponymous red tree, and which will appear in the trailer for The Red Tree. Or, I may say fuck it all and go visit with Louis Agassiz' cabinet of wonders at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. That's not such a long drive, and perhaps my tree is somewhere in Boston.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. And, again, I ask that you might pay especial attention to the hardback copy of The Merewife (Subterranean Press, 2005), as you are not likely to ever see me auction another. There's also a PC copy of the leather-bound and numbered state of Tales from the Woeful Platypus up now. Bid if you are so able, and so disposed. All proceeds go to my attending ReaderCon next month. Thank you.

Now, I think I will go find caffeine, or throw up, or just look in a mirror and watch my eyes bleed.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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