greygirlbeast: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] fornikate writes, "I have found [Ayn] Rand is a great way to weed out people that suck." Indeed. Rarely can one find a useful, simple and reliable douchebag litmus test. But an appreciation of Ayn Rand does spring immediately to mind.

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Today is another muteday, if only to atone for yesterday's failure. Yesterday, I became very frustrated over work, and had to start speaking. I might have exploded, otherwise.

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Wonderfully rainy last night, with violent winds. I think the last scabby snow in our neighborhood is gone, gone, gone. Washed away. Okay, well, most of it.

Yesterday, was a day of panic recovery, a day of figuring out how to build a Tardis. I have nine days, but I need twenty. That sort of thing. Spooky read me all there is so far of the tenth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and then she read me the last section of the ninth chapter. Then I wrote a new closing scene for the ninth chapter, which came to 1,078 words. All that is left to do on the novel is to finish the tenth chapter (hopefully today), write the epilogue (hopefully tomorrow), read through the whole manuscript (much of it I've not read, or heard read, except in the writing of it), make about a zillion line edits, secure permission to quote three songs, and send it away to my agent and editor in NYC. Which is to say, the novel is very nearly done.

Two Worlds and In Between has become the much greater worry. We're still proofreading. Yesterday, while I wrote, Spooky proofed "The Daughter of the Four of Pentacles." Today while I write she'll proof "The Dead and the Moonstruck." That leaves "only" The Dry Salvages (a novella of over 30k words), "Stokers Mistress," "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6," and "Houses Under the Sea." Spooky will do the latter for me tomorrow. Once all this proofreading is done, we have another zillion line edits to make before the ms. is ready to send to subpress.

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A bunch of eBay books and other things I owe people are going out today. [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme, I need your address (if you've already sent it to me, I lost it, sorry).

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Let me remind you of the Tale of the Ravens Kickstarter project. The good news is, we have 18 days to go, and the project is 164% funded (!!!). However, the farther over our projected budget we go, the better the finished product will be, and the better chance there will be of Goat Girl Press producing wonderful things after The Tale of the Ravens. There are still two of the four $500 pledge slots remaining, and we'd love to see those filled in the next eighteen days. Though, of course, any donation at all is welcome. Thank you.

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Last night, being not at all in the mood for gaming, we watched two movies. The first, Ulu Grosbard's True Confessions (1981) is a pretty good, though somewhat odd, story built around the Black Dahlia murder. However, the film's set in 1947, and not 1948, and Elizabeth Short is referred to as Lois Fazenda. The movie, staring Robert De Niro and Robert Duvall, is based on John Gregory Dunne's 1977 novel of the same name, and I assume the changes were taken from the book. So, yes. Pretty good film. But our second feature was Malcolm Venville's 44 Inch Chest, which is utterly fucking brilliant (especially considering it was Venville's directorial debut). Imagine Twelve Angry Men crossed with Guy Ritchie's Snatch, and you're sort of in the neighborhood of this film. Sort of. The entire cast delivers amazing performances, but John Hurt and Ian McShane pretty much steal the show. Presently streamable from Netflix, and a definite must-see. Though, if the word "cunt" causes you too much discomfort, you might want to sit this one out. But it is, after all, a British gangster film. That, by the way— "cunt" —was the only word I was forbidden to use while writing for DC/Vertigo, which I'll never cease to find utterly fucking befuddling.

Later we read more of Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire, which, I am happy to say, has completely recovered from those hurtfully dull first three chapters. Also, in my YA novels I will do all I can to avoid the recap infodumps. They piss me off to hell and back.

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And now, kittens, it's time to make the doughnuts. Comments! Especially about Sirenia Digest #63, please.

Yours in Joyful Sin,
Aunt Beast (the Haggard and Weary)
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
(No one's going to read all this...)

Last night, I dreamt of playing the accordion.

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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.

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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.

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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: (white)
Rain again today, washing away yesterday's snow and the snow beneath it. Spring lurches towards New England, a slushy, ugly beast.

In yesterday's entry, I alluded to a small adventure I'd be undertaking. It turned out to be not quite as small as I'd thought it would be, but still, there were no obvious lost tombs or trolls or feats of daring do. The snow, being light, and so much of the old heavy snow having been washed away, finally gave me the chance to visit Rolling Dam in the Blackstone Gorge. Which, of course, is very near the most important locale in The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but which I'd only seen in autumn and summer. Spooky wasn't happy about making the drive over all the gaping potholes that used to be roads, but I had Hubero hold Charlie Monkey hostage, so she went along with the plan.

We drove through Woonsocket, and stopped at the huge dam at Thundermist Falls. The easternmost spillway was closed for repairs of some sort, which made the view slightly less magnificent, but only slightly less so. They got more snow in Woonsocket, about three or four inches. The sky above was the palest velvety blue-grey, like another shade of snow, and the water coming over the dam and slamming loudly against the granite was an ocher green. All across Woonsocket, the old mills were frosted, and I could almost imagine the city before the decay of its industry.

We continued on to Massachusetts and Millville and to the spot by Rolling Dam where we always park. The snow here was maybe five or six inches (still, nothing at all for this winter). A man was shouldering a heavy backpack to make the hike to the gorge proper. We settled for Rolling Dam. This winter, it's a beauty I didn't grow up with, and it startles, disarms, and delights me. I've always found the still, deep water above the dam ominous, but it was more so than ever yesterday. Just north of the dam, the river was frozen over, back where it gets a bit swampy. I made notes, and we took photos. There were crows everywhere, and Spooky spotted a raptorial bird of some sort perched in the trees across the river.

By the time we made it back to Providence, it was late afternoon, maybe four-thirty p.m., maybe five. I got back to work. We proofed "Rats Live On No Evil Star" for Two Worlds and In Between. It's one of the few stories I wrote in the nineties (it was written in '97) that I still love.

Here are photos from the drive (behind the cut):

27 February 2011 )


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Today will be Assembly Day for Sirenia Digest #63. My great thanks to everyone who took part in the Question @ Hand challenge.

Here's a rather wonderful piece on The Red Tree, written by Lynda E. Rucker. One of the best I've seen written, actually, as it's no mere review, and doesn't waste words regurgitating the plot: "An Appreciation of Caitlin R. Kiernan's The Red Tree"

As for the Oscars, I was mostly pleased. I was very pleased that awards went to Shaun Tan and to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and to Natalie Portman. I wasn't so happy with Best Director (should have gone to Aronofsky), Actor (should have gone to Jeff Bridges), and Picture (should have gone to Black Swan or True Grit), but everything before that was pretty good. I hear some guy named James Franco made an ass of himself.

Gods, lots more...but it's gonna have to wait until another entry. Time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Stardate: 64615.5

The Rift Headstart begins in about an hour and forty-five minutes, and I admit I'm distracted. I'd just take the day off, but I have a doctor's appointment tommorow, and I can't go losing two days in a row.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,104 words and found the end of the ninth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. This leaves one more chapter and an epilogue, and then THE END.

Last night, we proofed "Onion" for Two Worlds and In Between. I wrote "Onion" in 2001, ten years ago. It won the International Horror Guild award for "Outstanding Achievement in Short Fiction," even though it's not a horror story. I traveled to Chicago, where the award was presented to me by Neil. And it was chosen by Ellen Datlow for Volume 15 of her and Terri Windling's The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. It was later collected in To Charles Fort, With Love. In 2007, A Big Hollywood Movie Producer spent months trying to get me to write a screenplay from it, and I tried. But he insisted the story was only the first half of a film, even though I explained to him that moving beyond the story's last page, where Willa gets up and walks away from Frank, would entirely collapse the story's fundamental mystery. I finally told him I just wasn't up to writing the screenplay. So, "Onion" has had some history. And I was pleased, last night, to discover that I still like the story. I made very few line edits.

I have to write a short essay on John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) for a book on the movie, a book that includes all sorts of incredible people. I should say I get to write, not I have to write. I truly am honored. I've found my essay, but for now it's a secret.

Last night, Shaharrazad moved on to Outland, where she and Suraa are in Shadowmoon Valley, working towards the Outland Loremaster achievement. But, I will admit, the wind's sort of been taken out of my sails. It's hard going back to that candy-colored cartoon world after Telara. I've announced that I'm looking for someone to take over the guild, Eyes of Sylvanas. I would like to see it live on without me.

Spooky and I will be rolling our Rift characters on the Shadefallen shard. They'll be Defiant, of course. Oh, and you only need four people to form a guild on Rift, and we might do that. If you interested, just say so, here or in an email.

A new world begins today.

Postscript (2:52 p.m.): Got both my desired names on Rift— Selwyn (Kelari mage) and Shaharrazad (Bahmi cleric). Woot, I say. Spooky, sadly, is stuck in the queue.
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
The snow and ice are here to stay. What little melting takes places during the day freezes solid as soon as the sun sets. I'm not kidding about glaciers. I may have to do a driveway glacier photo essay. The low last night was something like 9˚F.

Today, your comments would be most appreciated. Fridays are always slow.

I tried, yesterday, to take a day off, and failed. At this point, there's not been a day without work since Monday the 17th, and there have been seventeen days of work since. Today will make eighteen. Starting to feel thin, but the work is piled on top of the other work. I've got to get through chapters 7 and 8 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir this month, and finish up the editing and layout (and other stuff) for Two Worlds and In Between, and get Sirenia Digest #62 out to subscribers (the latter should happen tomorrow).

Yesterday, I tried very, very hard not to work. We made it through chapters 33-35 of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which seemed a good way to begin a day off. Only, then there was some sort of anxiety storm, that ended with me working on the layout and editing for Two Worlds and In Between, and realizing I hate the introduction I wrote, and that I have to write a new one today. And answering email. Oh, and the page proofs for "Hydrarguros" arrived in the mail yesterday. The story's being reprinted in Subterranean 2: Tales of Dark Fantasy.

Day before yesterday was spent trying to talk myself over the wall that has suddenly appeared between chapters 6 and 7 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Like magick. As soon as I realized the novel would take a different shape, and that Chapter 5 was actually chapters 5 and 6...boom...the first real wall I've encountered since the novel started gathering momentum back in November. I have to find my way over the wall by Sunday morning, at the latest. Anyway, yeah, work is presently a higgledy-piggledy twilight sort of place, too many things happening all at once and no time to stop and take a breath without worrying I'll drown. The weather isn't helping.

I was pleased to see that The Ammonite Violin & Others made the 2010 Locus Recommended Reading List.

--

Last night, we finished reading Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters, which was quite good, and I recommend it to anyone who's ever wondered at the direction European history might have taken if all the kings and queens (except in Switzerland) had been half-mermaid. There's a passage I want to quote from pp. 321-322, a "deepsman's" thoughts on Jesus, the Second Coming, and death, just because I love it:

A man might come back after three days hiding; it was not impossible. But the landsmen seemed to think he'd come back again, some day when the world ended— a thought that, in itself, was inconceivable. Creatures died; the world was what creatures died in. A broken back or a gouged throat created not a shiver of notice in the world, in anything except the dying creature. The world was what happened before you were born and kept happening after you died; there was no need for some dead landsman to come back and have everything living die at the same time and tear up the world while he was at it. Everyone would die anyway if they waited. It seemed to Henry that the landsmen were confused, that they hadn't seen enough dead things to know how easily the water kept flowing after a death, that however much you dreaded the end nothing stopped the tides. And no landsman could destroy the world, anyway, however clever he was at dodging in and out of seeming dead.

Also, we began Grace Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps last night, and I'm already amazed. Also also, it has one of the few truly good and artful book trailers I've ever seen.

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Two good movies over the last couple of nights. Wednesday night, we finally got to see Gareth Edwards' Monsters. And wow. I'm fairly certain that, after Inception, this is the second best science-fiction film of 2010. I'm appalled it got such a limited release. For an alien-invasion film, Monsters is superbly soft spoken, a symphony of whispers rising, at last, to a distant rumble of thunder. The climactic encounter between the protagonists and two of the aliens invokes not terror, but awe, arriving at that moment of transcendence when eyes are opened and "monsters" become something else entirely. Highly recommended. This is a must see, now that it's finally on DVD and the vagaries of film distribution are no longer holding this masterpiece hostage.

Last night, we watched Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders' How to Train Your Dragon (based on Cressida Cowell's book), and I was pleasantly surprised. I'd not been particularly enthusiastic about seeing it, perhaps because of all the 3D nonsense. But it's sort of marvelous. Sweet without going saccharine. Beautiful animation. And it all ends with a song by Jónsi. Very, very nice.

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At this point, the Tale of the Ravens project is 160% funded (!!!), but it'll be open to donations, however large or small, for another 49 days. Please have a look. Spooky and I are both excited about this, our first collaboration and the beginning of Goat Girl Press. Please have a look. Oh, wait. I said that already.

And speaking of big black birds, here's the cover (behind the cut) for Ellen Datlow's forthcoming Supernatural Noir (due out from Dark Horse on June 22nd), which includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn":

Supernatural Noir )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Snowy, slushy, cold here in Providence. Presently, 30˚F, with an expected low tonight of 21˚F, so yeah, we're sort of having a heatwave. More snow on the way tonight.

Day before yesterday, we spoke with my doctor. Dosages have been increased. There is hope the storm inside my skull may soon subside, and I can go back to looking the other way.

Tuesday I wrote 1,152 words on Chapter 5 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Yesterday, I wrote not a single word. The whole day was spent, instead, talking about what I wasn't writing. I've been lucky. Yesterday was the first significant wall the book's hit since I began it in earnest back in November.

Lee Moyer's cover for Two Worlds and In Between is coming along very well. He's at the mock-up stage, but I'm loving it. Right now, it's been the bright spot amid all the sticky black clouds.

The current eBay auctions continue (and are going well).

I didn't leave the house yesterday. Or the day before that. But I'm going out this evening, weather permitting.

I feel bad for not having mentioned the 202nd anniversary of Edgar Allan's Poe's birth, but I didn't make an entry yesterday. So, there you go.

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Books and movies. Night before last, we streamed two of the latter, fashioning an inexplicable sort of double feature. First, I wanted to see Mike Figgis' Leaving Las Vegas (1995) again, and Spooky had never seen it. Nicolas Cage films tend to fall into one of two categories. Those in which he acts, and those in which he can't be bothered to act. Happily, Leaving Las Vegas is one of the good ones. More on one of the not-so-good ones in a second. We followed Leaving Las Vegas with Michael Dougherty's Trick 'r Treat (2007), which would have be a wonderful pairing with, oh, say Fright Night. Plus, Anna Paquin as a hot werewolf. It was actually very enjoyable, which surprised me, as I tend to hate "anthology" films (Creepshow [1982], Twilight Zone: The Movie [1983], Cat's Eye [1985], and so on and so forth). Then, last night, we watched Jon Turteltaub's The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010), a big, steaming mess of stupid. This movie is so bad that even though it's not one of the movie's in which Nicolas Cage can be bothered to act, everyone else— except Alice Krige —is so bad, it seems like he's acting. In fact, Nicolas Cage's not-acting was about the only thing that made the movie bearable. The leather duster he was wearing also gave a nice performance. And Alice Krige is cool no matter what manner of mouse-eared shit she's stuck in. I'm sure she was paid well, which is really more than I can claim for my own forays into prostitution. I think the best thing I can say about The Sorcerer's Apprentice is this: If you're sick in bed, and there's nothing to do except watch this movie, it probably won't make you feel any worse than you already do.

And I read [livejournal.com profile] blackholly and Ted Naifeh's Kin, Kith, and Kind. Very good. I was especially pleased with the ending. And we're still reading Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters.

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Anyway, wrapping this up. I need to call Lee, and email my agent, and get back to the novel. Comments especially welcome today. It's going to be a long one.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
And already it's the third day of the year...

1) I awoke to the news that Pete Postlethwaite had died. An actor I adored, and who never failed to impress. The world is poorer.

2) Got up about eight this ayem (seven EST) and, half asleep, cracked my head rather hard against the edge of a door frame. Hurt like fuck all, but I appear to be okay. Not even a lump. Just a very sore forehead. I need curb feelers or something. Whiskers might do.

3) Yesterday tried to be a day off, but failed rather miserably. We left the house about 2:30 p.m. It was fairly warm, but overcast, with dirty snow still heaped everywhere. A most disheartening landscape, Providence with snow scabs. First, we drove from the train depot on Gaspee to the Ladd Observatory on Hope Street, because it's a route that my protagonist in "—30—" walks and I needed to know the mileage (about two miles). Then we made a trip to the market and the pharmacy. We'd had some notion of doing something more interesting. Anything more interesting. But it began to rain, and so we went home, instead. I went back to work on "—30—". I had Spooky read the whole story aloud to me and was relieved that it works quite well. I made a lot of line edits, and expanded a section near the end. So, the day off turned into a work day.

For dinner, the second night of black-eyed peas (like I said, I made enough for an army). We watched Andrey Konchalovskiy's Runaway Train (1985; inspired by an Akira Kurosawa screenplay). I'd not seen it since it was new, and Spooky had never seen it. Watching The Taking of Pelham 123 got me thinking about it, the night before. It holds up very well. Only the score, which reeks of the the eighties (and not in a good way), made me wince. We followed it with Gregor Jordan's Unthinkable (2010), a film with Samuel L. Jackson and Carrie-Anne Moss that I'd not even heard about. Turns out, it was a direct-to-DVD release (I don't know any of the specifics as to why). It's a peculiar mess of a movie, and I'm inclined to agree with Sean Axmaker, who called Unthinkable "a clumsy polemic that bounces between the boundaries of stage-play debate and torture porn spectacle." Later, we began reading Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters, which I'm liking quite a lot so far (despite a cover blurb from Sherrilyn Kenyon). Hopefully, the promise of its first three chapters will be realized.

So, that was yesterday.

4) Today will be spent putting together Sirenia Digest #61, which will hopefully go out to subscribers either late this evening or early tomorrow.

5) Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks!

6) I want to link to this again today, because it's just so wonderful: "For the children I will never have: The facts of life". Thinking about it yesterday, a thought occurred to me that occurs to me every so often. Given I will never have a child, I sometimes imagine sitting down and writing an account of the life of the child that I will never have. A might have been, as it were. It wouldn't be anything romanticized. I'd at least try to write it honestly.

7) It's sunny today, and there's still snow. We had rain last night, so at least the snow is cleaner than it was. Yesterday's warmth is gone. Here in Providence, it's currently 33F, with a wind from the northwest, 17mph gusting to 25mph, making it feel like 22F. A good day to stay inside and work. I might open my curtain and let the sun in...
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I'd thought today would be a day off. I've not left the house since last Sunday, and I'd planed to go to the shore today. But there are clouds, which there weren't supposed to be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fuck you, clouds.

Addendum (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] opalblack): For the children I will never have: The facts of life. This is brilliant.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Here we are again.

Expect no improvement.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,223 words on "—30—", and I should be able to finish the story today. At the start, I thought it might be something humorous, or at least tongue-in-cheek. But the story's gone to this other place, instead. Too much truth about what it's like for me being a writer. An unseemly amount of truth, I imagine, but there you go. Isn't that my job, to be unseemly?

And, speaking of "—30—", it was pointed out to me yesterday (on Facebook) that, in 2010, Laird Baron published a story titled "—30—". I haven't read much Laird Baron (three stories, to date, I think), so I looked on Amazon. And yes, in his 2010 short-story collection, Occultation, there is, indeed, a story titled "—30—" (original to the collection). At first I felt sort of annoyed and crappy about this, but then Spooky pointed out to me that the final episode of Season Five of The Wire (2008) was titled "—30—", along with a film from 1959, directed by Jack Webb and starring Jack Webb, William Conrad, and Whitney Blake. Then I pointed out to her that two works nominated for the 2010 Hugos shared a title, [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna's novel Palimpsest and Charles Stross' novella "Palimpsest." So, all this said, I've decided not to change the title of the story, as the current title is too perfect.

I suppose I'll post the same sort of list I posted last year on this day, the "How Much Did I Write This Year" list. I sort of have a feeling I may have actually written fewer short stories this year than last (which would be a good thing). The year I only write one short story— one perfect story —I win. So, let's see:

1. "Hydrarguros"
2. "The Eighth Veil"
3. "Persephone Redux (A Fragment)"
4. "Apsinthion"
5. "Houndwife"
6. "Three Months, Three Scenes, With Snow"
7. "Workprint"
8. "Tempest Witch"
9. "Tidal Forces"
10. "The Maltese Unicorn"
11. "The Yellow Alphabet" (in two parts)
12. "Fairy Tale of the Maritime"
13. "A Key to the Castleblakeney Key"
14. "John Four"
15. "And the Cloud That Took the Form"
16. "At the Reef"
17. "The Prayer of Ninety Cats"

I'm not going to count "—30—," because it will have missed being finished in 2010 by one day. Also, I was very pleased this year to see The Red Tree nominated for both the Shirley Jackson and World Fantasy awards, and to have seen The Ammonite Violin & Others on the cover of Publisher's Weekly.

Last night, we did what we always do on New Year's Eve and stayed in. We watched a very peculiar vampire film, Rob Stefaniuk's Suck (2009). There were ups and down. The film features Iggy Pop, Moby (as Beef, the most popular rock star in Buffalo, NY), Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins, and Macolm McDowell. If you've not already guessed, it was a comedy, and the funny was so-so. The best bit of the film (besides Moby) was the much-sexier-dead-than-alive Jessica Paré. And how can you possibly follow a film titled Suck? You watch Constantine over again, drool at Tilda Swinton in angel drag, and marvel how Keanu Reeves was ever cast in the film (or any film, for that matter). He mutters his way through the entire film, as if to make up for his inability to act. I always think there's something off with the voice track, until I realize Keanu is the only one mumbling. So, yeah...that was last night.

Today, clinging to some meager vestige of tradition, I'll make black-eyed peas, collards, mac and cheese, and cornbread.

In summation, 2010 was quite a bit better than 2009. Which is to say, it was, all in all, tolerable (though the first few months were spectacularly awful). I'll hope that 2011 may actually be a good year. I don't think I've had one of those since...oh, never mind.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
1) This is the year that you may celebrate the last year of the first decade of the new millennium. Yes, you have my permission. I wouldn't have mentioned it, but I made such a big deal, in last year's New Year's Eve post, about how 2009 wasn't the end of the first decade of the new millennium.

2) Yesterday, I wrote 1,246 words on "—30—", which I should be able to finish tomorrow, for Sirenia Digest #61. I might have written more, but I had to pause to read Michael Drayton's "Nymphidia" over again. Also, yesterday Spooky sent the Dancy Cigar Box off to the winner of the auction, Mr. Steven Lubold.

3) Heads up. The super special sale price for the limited edition of Two Worlds and In Between ends at 5 PM (EST) this evening. At this point, more than 450 of the 600-copy print run of the limited have been reserved (originally a 400-copy print run). So, yeah. Last chance to save $20 on the limited. Take heed.

4) Yesterday I also corralled the best answers to the question I asked last year on the 30th of December, "If you had me alone, locked up in your house, for twenty-four hours and I had to do whatever you wanted me to, what would you have me/you/us do?", and those will also be appearing...belatedly...in Sirenia Digest #61. Also, if you weren't reading the blog last year and would like to get in on this, you can email me a reply today or tonight or tomorrow, to greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com. All answers will be published anonymously, so feel free to feel free. But no answers about how you'd spend all that time reading to me, or how you'd make me take a nap, or how you'd cook for me, force me to go Outside, or help me write, or have long conversations with me about writing and literature and dreams and magick. I'm looking for something spicier here. Although, forcing me to write or talk about writing would certainly rank fairly high on the sadism meter.

5) Two movies last night. I was sort of in a crime/thriller/noir headspace. We began with Richard Shepard's Oxygen (1999), because we're determined to see everything in which Adrien Brody has ever appeared. Not bad, though Brody was by far the best of it. Next, we watched D.J. Caruso's The Salton Sea (2002), which I liked quite a lot, really. Vincent D'Onofrio can always be counted on to add something wonderfully weird to any film in which he appears, and this was no exception. The very ending felt tacked on, though, as if maybe the studio execs got skittish of the bleak ending we almost get before the film unconvincingly tries to fake you out so that Val Kilmer can walk away into the sunset. Also, I find it odd Caruso would make a film titled The Salton Sea, in which horrific events have occurred at the Salton Sea, but fail to take advantage of the surreal landscape surrounding the Salton Sea. Still, I liked it.

6) I'm not gonna bother with any actual "best of" lists this year, if only because the Lamictal has made such a mess of my short-term memory. I strongly suspect I've not yet seen all the best films of 2010, but I'm going to say that the best films of 2010 that I have seen are (in no particular order) Black Swan, Inception, Shutter Island, and The Social Network. I also adored Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland and Kick Ass. Turns out, a lot of my favorite films from 2010 were released in 2009 (Neil Jordan's Ondine comes to mind). My reading habits are too spotty to say much at all about the best books of the year, though I did adore Patti Smith's Just Kids and Kristin Hirsh's Rat Girl. As for music, my listening habits have been even spottier, but, off the top of my head, my favorite album was probably Broken Bells' self-titled release.

7) Most years, I give the whole idea of New Year's resolutions the middle finger (which I was recently amused to hear described as the "Massachusetts State Bird," which is fair, given that the Rhode Island State Bird is the Dunkin' Donuts Cruller). Anyway, this year I actually do have a few resolutions, which I mean not only to make (which is easy), but to keep (which is hard). For starters, unless I'm too sick, I will leave the House at least once every four days. I've also decided to work harder at witchcraft and magick, which is one of the parts of my life that's been sort of lost in the chaos of the last two years. I'm going to read a lot more and game a lot less. And so on and so forth. You get the idea.

8) One of the coolest things I can say about 2010 is that I only got sick once (we're not counting my long list of chronic maladies here, just contagions). Back in January, I caught some sort of hideous bug when I did a reading in Brooklyn, and was down for a few days, but that was it. Garlic and hot, hot peppers, you rule.

And now, it's time to make some Rhode Island state birds....
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday, I wrote 2,179 words on The Drowning Girl and reached the end of Chapter Two. In the past five days, I've written 9,154 words on the book, when I generally only average about 1,100 words a day. But today I'm going to stop and read back over both One and Two (or 1 and 2, as Imp would have it).

Cold here in Providence.

My thanks to those who've commented on "The Prayer of Ninety Cats," either here, on Facebook, or by email.

Yesterday was the sort of day that needs a lot of hot tea. I began with an Earl Grey made with white tea, then moved along to blend of black tea, orange, cinnamon, and cloves. We watched Micheal Winterbottom's Butterfly Kiss (1995). We seem to be on a Winterbottom kick. Next up, Jude (1996), with Christopher Eccleston and Kate Winslet.

I was thinking about ragging on the Worgen a little more, but I think I'll do that some other time.

I think my next audiobook may be the unabridged Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, even though it's thirty-two hours long...
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The not-sleeping is quickly, once again, reaching a crisis state. It's not even one thing, but a combination of things. My wretched insomnia, and the sleeping pills (I know we're supposed to say "sleep aids" now, but fuck it) that really don't work so well (name one, I've taken it). The morning construction noise from the house next door, the one that had a fire this time last year, and they're only just now getting it refurbished. Our noisy upstairs neighbors, who stomp like bloody elephants and test smoke alarms in the morning. The cats. And on and on and on. I don't think I've had a stretch of decent sleep in about three months now, excepting the days in Portland, and it's starting to show.

Three months. And I don't know, maybe it's been longer. The way I feel right now, you could ask me my name and I'd probably get it wrong.

I spent yesterday working on the prolegomenon for #60. Spooky went down to her parents place in South County. I wrote the prolegomenon. Which is the longest it's ever been for any issue of Sirenia Digest. Over two thousand words. So, I wrote two thousand words yesterday, it just wasn't fiction. It was an odd sort of mystery. All will be revealed— to subscribers (which you could be, if you subscribed) —in the fullness of time.

I've learned a surprising amount of Slovak, Croatian, and Hungarian the last week or so.

I'm behind on almost everything. For example, I was supposed to hand in the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between at the end of November, and that's not going to happen. And then there are things I need to send to people. I have a list. I actually do. The poem I need to send out to everyone who donated for Spooky's birthday present, way back in June. A copy of Silk to the person who won it on the seventeenth anniversary of the day I began the novel. Now, I need to get the blog PDF out the everyone who's asked (hopefully today). I have a painting I began a month ago.

I squander so much of my evenings on MMORPGs because the days writing without having slept leave me too tired to do anything constructive with the nights.

The problem of time displacement enter into the equations.

I just need to sleep.

---

Last night, two movies, both surprisingly, unexpectedly good. First, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor's Gamer (2009), which I think really only works if you've subjected yourself to the idiotic hell of Second Life or the Sims. This is the third time now that I've seen sf, in film, address the SL thing. First in Jonathan Mostow's Surrogates (2009), then in Caprica, and now in Gamer. The latter adds a sort of Death Race edge. But there's no mistaking Castle's "Society" as anything but the SL mainland. Unless, of course, you've been smart enough or lucky enough to have never "visited" the SL mainland. Or SL in general. And, of course, the film had Micheal C. Hall, which never hurts. I will also note that all three— Gamer, Caprica, and Surrogates — fared poorly at the box office/ratings, and I suspect, in truth, this is because the number of people who've experienced what's being criticized is so very tiny. Not sure if I'd recommend Gamer to just anyone, as mileage will vary greatly. But if you're a recovering SL addict (like me), I think it's a must see.

The second film, Don McKellar's Last Night (1998), is a quiet little Canadian affair about the last night before the end of the world, as everyone in Toronto counts down to midnight and the end. Exactly what fate is befalling mankind is never named, which doesn't matter in the least, because this is a film about the characters, not the disaster. The disaster (which can pretty much be puzzled out, if you're paying attention) is only the catalyst. I'd never even heard of the film before last night, which is odd. Also, it had David Cronenberg. I definitely recommend it, unless you're more interested in special effects than characterization. Last Night has virtually no special effects, which makes it all the more effective.

---

I suppose I should go drink my coffee— which has gotten cold —and try to salvage the day.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The weather has finally turned genuinely cold here in Providence.

I suppose I can write the entry I meant to write yesterday, given I have not yet today been jabbed in the eye with the pointy stick of a homophobic "review." Maybe that happens later, late this afternoon, or tonight.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, which include Study #2 for Yellow. [This entry was just interrupted by the discovery of a mouse in Spooky's workroom...time for humane traps, as the mice are bold and apparently the cats can't be bothered].

Two good nights sleep in a row, so I suppose only getting four hours last night was to be expected.

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. It's a new voice, another first-person narrative, but quite distinct from Sarah Crowe (though India Phelps is another goddamn lesbian, so buyer beware). Anyway, here's hoping the third or fourth time's the charm, because I've gotten the third extension of this novel's deadline, and I need to have something coherent for my publisher come March. I have set a goal of writing at least 1,500 words a day, every day, at least for the next month, a thing I've not attempted since early 2007, and which I swore I'd never inflict upon myself again.

Sirenia Digest #59 went out to subscribers last night. Two new stories, which I hope readers will enjoy.



---

A fine Halloween this year. I worked on the digest, but afterwards I read the first volume of Kirkman and Moore's The Walking Dead ("Days Gone Bye"). I followed that with Thomas Ligotti's "The Medusa." As we'd declared Sunday night a Kid Night, we had hot dogs and candy (too much candy) and watched "scary" movies (I use the quotations because I rarely find "scary" movies scary, which is okay, because I enjoy them on many other levels). In fact, we made is a quadruple feature! We began with Jon Harris' The Descent: Part 2 (2009), which wasn't as good as the first film (not as atmospheric, and we see the monsters far too clearly this time), but was still a decent sequel. There are some interesting parallels between The Descent/The Descent: Part 2 and Alien/Aliens. Next up, we watched Jim Mickle's Mulberry Street (2006), a surprisingly effective low-budget affair which did a much better job of portraying NYC than most big budget films set in NYC manage. We followed that with Mark A. Lewis' The Thaw (2009), which was better than it should have been, given how much it borrows from Carpenter's The Thing and a particular episode of The X-Files ("Ice," Season 1, Episode 8). Finally, we finished up with the astoundingly ridiculous Vampires: Los Muertos, directed by Tommy Lee Wallace (2002). John Bon Jovi is a freelance vampire hunter with a surf board; the only thing this film really had going for it was Arly Jover's performance as a blue-eyed, sexy vampire (Jover also played a vampire in 1998's Blade). So, yeah. A pretty damn good Halloween.

---

Last night, we saw the first episode of AMC's The Walking Dead, adapted from the aforementioned graphic novel of the same name. I was impressed. Not only was the first episode extremely faithful to the source material, it brought a new depth to the story. And it's pretty cool seeing a post-apocalyptic Atlanta. However, I will say that I'm dangerously near total burnout on zombie films, good or bad or otherwise. I think we've reach that point with zombies that we reached with vampires in the early '90s. I fear it's time to step away from the zombies for a while (though, of course, the cultural fascination at work here is rife with potential insight).

---

After The Walking Dead, I played CoX, and got Erzsébetta from Level 29 to Level 38. Plus, there was some good rp.

Okay. Time to write.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Here in Providence, autumn seems to have come to stay. Trees are going red and yellow. Spooky and I are talking about driving up the Blackstone River valley in a couple of weeks, into Massachusetts, and maybe as far as Vermont, just to see the trees. And, by the way, I'm guessing there aren't many people who dream about finding the axis (2nd) vertebra of a Triceratops, but I did last night.

No writing yesterday. On Monday, I went back to "There Will Be Kisses For Us All," abandoned in December 2008, and began from scratch. I did only 646 words. The prose is dense. And I spent a great deal of time with research. Like becoming obsessed with Romanian words for "whore" and "lover" and "wife." And whether Castle Poenari is on the north or south bank of the River Arges. And Rome's role in shaping the culture of Moldovan and Wallachian culture in the 15th Century. So, that was Monday. Today, I need to screw up my courage (an odd turn of phrase) and go back to work on the piece. But it's as intimidating as it was two years ago.

Only two days remain on the "napoval" auction. One of a kind, people. One of a kind. A piece of my personal history. Also, there are the other eBay auctions.

---

The winner of the signed copy of Silk, commemorating seventeen years since I began writing it on October 11th, 1993, is [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme. The winner was determined by rolling polyhedral dice. If you are the winner, please send you snail-mail address to Spooky at crk_books(at)yahoo(dot)com, and we'll get it in the mail to you. My thanks to everyone who left comments on Monday. They were great, all those stories about first encounters with the novel. Oh, and also, we're a little behind shipping eBay packages, what with the HPLFF and the taxes and everything else, but they'll be going out very soon, promise.

---

Yesterday, for the first time since coming home from the airport on October 5th, I left the House. We drove down to Warwick for a matinée of David Fincher's The Social Network. It's a brilliant film, and Fincher deserves an Oscar nomination this year. Wonderful performances all the way 'round. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' score (which I downloaded weeks ago) is superb. Parallels are being drawn between this film and Citizen Kane. They're not inappropriate. Highly recommended.

---

Ahem.

Spooky and I have been eagerly awaiting World of Warcraft's next expansion, "Cataclysm," due out December 7th. Yesterday, Blizzard rolled out patch 4.0, and we were excited about that, too. But my excitement came crashing down when I discovered that, among many other inexplicable and fundamental changes to gameplay (some of which I knew were being implemented), most warlocks have lost most of their minions, and had them replaced with...well...impostors. That is, Shaharrazad's succubus, Drusneth is now some hooven slut named Angxia. And her imp, Volyal, has been replaced with a much less agreeable imp named Voltuk. And her beloved felhound Greezun (who was the Reason) has been replaced by some mutt named Bheethun. Only her voidwalker, Zhar'los, was spared the purge. I'd had those minions for two years. Some players had the same minions for five years. And...gods...by the sword of my Dark Lady...I'm pissed about this. There was no sense in it. None at all. It's almost enough to make me give up on WoW. Yes, I know this sounds bloody ridiculous to all you non-warlock, non-WoW addicts. But there you go. The WoW bulletin boards are awash in 'lock sorrow, as we all join in grieving for our stolen minions, and as we futilely beg Blizzard to give us back our rightful minions, to whom we were soulbound. There's this poem, posted last night by a fellow Sin'dorei warlock, Myri (Sisters of Elune):

Ode to a Lost Voidwalker

Twas the night before Cata
and all through the land
Not a player was stirring,
their realms all unmanned.
The warlocks were nestled in Stormwind and Org,
Dreaming of chaos bolts, corruption and more!
Their minions all banish'd, soul shards fully stocked
waiting for Deathwing and his dragon flock.
Then suddenly, out of the gloom came a cry!
Our demons are missing! We have to know why!
In their places are strangers, our friends can't be found
From Icecrown to Stratholme we've scoured the ground.
They left us no messages, no clues to follow
and here we are lost, feeling lonely and hollow.
Oh where have they gone, our faithful fel pets...
A better companion, we haven't found yet.
So begone, all you mages and your elementals
Death knights and ghouls? Hardly sentimental.
The warlocks all sigh, downcast, brokenhearted
For a lock and her demon should never be parted.


---

Fortunately, I have a new MMORPG obsession, City of Heroes and Villains. In fact, I have become so obsessed with the game that, after last night, I'm forcing myself to step back from it for a couple of days. But...my magic corrupter, a vampire named Erzsébetta Bathory (yes, you read that correctly), has reached Level 23 and earned her first cape...and I just adore the game. Yeah, the controls suck, badly. But the game is still sort of wonderful, and almost everyone actually fucking roleplays. That's a fact I can't seem to get over. What I did not find in Second Life and WoW I have found in CoX. But I've played about twenty-one hours over the last three nights alone, and that's far too much, so I'm giving myself a short time out. Just until Friday.

---

And now...another set of photographs from the trip. While wandering the empty Minneapolis airport on the night of the 4th and the wee hours of the 5th, we happened across a number of stone-inlay murals set into the airport floor. I have yet to determine when or by whom they were created, but they are beautiful. Photos below. Oh, and we also discovered that portions of the airport floor are paved with Solnhofen Limestone (from whence comes Archaeopteryx), from the Jurassic of Bavaria, including the floor around the murals. Spooky and I spotted fossil sponges and ammonites in polished cross-section. I imagine few of the tens of millions of people who pass through the airport ever how often tens of millions of people pass through the airport ever realize they tread on the remains of ancient reefs and lagoons. Anyway, photos:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 6, Floor Murals )
greygirlbeast: (multipass2)
Why am I using my Leeloo Minai Lekarariba-Laminai-Tchai Ekbat De Sebat multipass icon? I have no idea, except maybe it's Dada, using it without knowing why, and I'm in sort of a Dada frame of mind.

Monsieur Insomnia made another appearance last night, and both Seroquel and Sonata were required to make him go away. Yes, insomnia is definitely male. I was up until after five a.m. I signed into WoW and got the "Fishing Diplomat" achievement, because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, or the Dark Iron Dwarves, or some crazy-ass Sin'dorei warlock on a talbuck rushing the gates of Stormwind City at dawn fucking thirty.

Got an interesting email from my agent, but now she's at lunch. Might be something good. I'll know later in the day.

Also, does anyone out there (this is a long shot if ever there was one, asking this question) have contact information on the estate of Zdzisław Beksiński? I'm hoping to be able to use one of his paintings for the cover of Two Worlds and In Between (the "best of" collection), but I have a feeling it's going to be a pain tracking down the contact.

Has anyone else ever noticed that on Azeroth the moon rises in the north and sets in the south? Or maybe it's the other way round. I should ponder out the planetary physics involved.

---

No writing yesterday, and no work to speak of. I was delirious from a lack of sleep and the Ambien that hadn't yet worn off. I'm waiting on Vince's illustration so I can finish up with Sirenia Digest #58 and get it to subscribers before we head to the HPLFF.

Instead of work, I needed a new bag (haha), a new shoulder bag for the trip, because I've been carrying around the same Hello Kitty backpack since about 1995. So, we went to Thayer Street, and, for reasons known only to...well, no one and nothing...we went to Urban Outfitters. It's like fucking Target for hipsters. Off-the-shelf punk. It actually made my skin crawl. And shit's crazy expensive. We left and went a few doors down to the army/navy surplus place, and got a couple of Israeli paratrooper bags (that look like they're made to last forever) for half the price one of those ugly Urban Outfitter bags would have cost.

Thayer Street is a sad sight to behold. Sadder for Spooky than for me. She remembers the heyday of Thayer Street. By my first visit, in 2000, the corporate invasion had already begun. We walk down the street, and she points to a Great Cuts and says, "That was a really cool record store called In Your Ear." It seems like every corporate nightmare we pass used to be something cool and funky. Vintage clothing stores, bookstores, record stores that have made way for Starbucks and Johnny Rockets and City Sports and fuck knows what else. Twenty years ago it had a vibe. Now it hardly has a pulse. College students these days, I fear, want exactly what they left behind, and what they want is bland and cookie cutter. Anyway...a few cool places have survived, tucked into the nooks and crannies, like the hardier creatures that manage to endure the introduction of wave after wave of invasive species. But it depresses Spooky, and she tries not to look.

---

Last night we found an odd little gem of a movie on Netflix, Billy O'Brien's Isolation (2005). It's an amazingly effective horror film, that makes great use of mood and lighting, sound and space, to create almost unbearable suspense. Excellent creature effects, good action, good cinematography, all in a low-budget Irish monster movie. This is the sort of film that the "SyFy" could be making, if they could be bothered to give half a shit. Really, I was impressed. I wanted to bathe for hours afterwards. There were one or two sour notes (including an unnecessary and cliché "epilogue"), but, all in all, Isolation is very much worth your time. Think Alien and The Thing, but in rural Ireland.

---

I will have no— I repeat NO —internet access while in Portland. This is a good thing. I just don't want people disappointed that I'm not tweeting every time I go to the toilet or whatever. We're not taking the laptops, and I have no iPhone, and our cellphones are too old to manage The Future. So, my last contact with the web until after the festival will be tomorrow, most likely.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thank you.

That's all for now. The mothmen and the platypus concur.
greygirlbeast: (Walter1)
Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] anaisembraced reminded me of a quote from one of Anaïs Nin's published diaries (1931-1934). It manages to say much more eloquently what I was trying to say yesterday about my need for a public persona:

"There were always in me, two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest."

---

Yesterday was spent, work-wise, beginning the layout of Sirenia Digest #58. I have to set that aside today for the aforementioned Weird Tales interview, which I'm doing after all. Part of me is so done with giving interviews. Another part of me recognizes it's always going to be something I have to do.

If you want truly secure online passwords, create your own language. It works wonders.

The weather has turned warm again.

People have started asking me questions about the H. P. Lovcecraft Film Festival. What I will and won't be doing, my schedule, how many books will I sign, when's my reading, what will I be reading from, how long will I be in Oregon, am I going to Powell's, and so forth. I'm going to post my schedule for the festival and CthulhuCon here in the next day or so.

As for signing, I'm not going to have an actual signing session scheduled, I don't think, so you might want to plan on bringing stuff you want signed to my reading, or catching me before or after a panel, something like that. But not if I'm eating, or something like that. I'll sign as many books as you want signed. No limit. I'll personalize them. I won't write stupid shit like, "To my best friend" or "For a kindred spirit" or poetry or anything like that. I won't inscribe my books with passages from my books. I bring these things up because from time to time they've been an issue in my eBay sales. I'll sign books, and I'll sign books to you or to whomever you want them signed to, but that's about it. Sometimes, if the mood strikes me, I throw in a monster doodle, but the mood rarely strikes me.

Also, I am declaring this con "Be Nice to Spooky Weekend." Which means, well, be nice to Spooky, because if she weren't coming along, I wouldn't be able to be there. Please feel free to bring her doughnuts from Voodoo Donuts (I think she's especially interested in the bacon-maple bars, voodoo dolls, and apple fritters). Or a vial of Escential's "oak moss." These things will make her smile.

---

So far, I've completely avoided seeing clips and trailers from Matt Reeves Let Me In, which is a remake of Tomas Alfredson's superb and perfect Låt den rätte komma in (both based on John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel, Låt den rätte komma in). I hate the things that Reeves has said, with a straight face, about making the story more accessible for Americans. I hate that he's gutting the novel and original film's gender issues by simply making Eli a genetic female. How can that not come across as pandering to homophobic and transphobic filmgoers? And this is all confusing, because I very much loved Reeves' Cloverfield, and want to see more from him. I'm not especially fond of American remakes of foreign language films, but I also don't hate them on principle, as some seem to do. Usually, I'll give them a chance. But this time, I don't see how I can.

Oh, and I'm very pleased to see that [livejournal.com profile] docbrite is finally reading House of Leaves.

---

Some smart, moving, exquisite rp in Insilico last night. Lately, my rp has involved very few people, which I have found, through trail and error, to be the best approach. Two people is ideal. Four is usually my limit for a scene. More than that, there's too much chaos. This story began back in January and February, with a long hiatus from April into July. At this point, it's mostly the story of two people, one of whom happens to be an android. It's like the middle of a good sf novel, one for which I know I'll never get to read the beginning or ending (which makes it rather like a dream). It demonstrates the marvel that Second Life can be, but almost never manages to be. Anyway, my thanks to Fifth and Molly.

Earlier, Spooky and I watched the latest Project Runway (good riddance, Ivy) and the first episode of Season Three of Fringe, which I though was an especially strong episode.

And now, there's the interview (though internet porn sounds like more fun)....
greygirlbeast: (fight dinosaurs)
Hold on for Round Three of higgledy piggledy.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,413 words on "John Four," and found THE END. It's a strange story, maybe even strange for me. Maybe even grim for me, right down to the irony in the Biblical allusion of its title. I wrote yesterday's pages to the Swans' My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky. It was the perfect soundtrack to the story. The last couple of hours of writing yesterday were pell-mell, a dizzy rush through black words. I almost felt as though my brain was tripping over itself. If this story has a moral, it must be that the end of the world is only merciful if it really is the end of the world, and not the beginning of another. Anyway, the vignette will be included in Sirenia Digest #58, along with reprints of most of my Lovecraft Mythos fiction. I felt I should do a Lovecraft issue, since I'll be heading off to the HPLFF next week, so that's what I'm doing.

---

I woke this morning from the most remarkable dreams, though sadly only random shreds remain. But the shreds are dazzling. I was living out a fourth book in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and somehow Saruman's industrial revolution had occurred after all. The landscape was at first Stalin's Russia, then New York City in the Great Depression. I only saw hobbits and humans. The elves would be gone, of course, but there should have been orcs and dwarves. There were refugees in boxcars in a barren snowy place. At one point, there was a frantic climb through the freezing waters of an enormous dam's spillway. There was a climactic showdown in what seemed to me a bank, and it was very Miller's Crossing somehow, only with swords instead of guns. And I woke from this dream wanting so badly to write a fantasy novel set against the backdrop of the first three decades of the 20th Century.

--- (These divisions, in my mind, make an entry less higgledy piggledy.)

Thanks for all the comments yesterday, mostly as regards ebooks and eReaders. Truth is, on the one hand, I don't care if people are using eReaders. If that's how you want to read, it's sure as hell not my business. I can't do it, because for me a book consists of two parts: 1) the experience of reading it (which includes tactile sensation) and 2) the physical object itself. These things are, for me, indivisible. I'm not looking for a "good read," because the process of reading a book cannot be reduced to mere action. But that's me. I think the only thing that scares me about all this is that I feel fairly certain that if the trend continues, we'll reach a point where what remains of New York publishing will ditch most hardcopy books, especially the midlist. It will be far cheaper to rely on ebooks, as they have so much less overhead (especially since the publishers aren't manufacturing the eReaders). The two greatest expenses in publishing would be eliminated: warehousing and distribution. Sure, there will still be hardbacks for best sellers, and also from specialty houses like Subterranean Press, but most authors won't have access to such luxuries. The midlist author will be consigned to ebooks. And if that happens, I'll stop writing. I'll just stop. Because half of my reward for having written is that tangible object, which to me is a work of art— the book —which can never be reduced to zeroes and ones.

Also, books don't usually break when you drop 'em.

I'm not going to get started on the horror that introducing social networking to the act of reading represents for me. No, I never belonged to book clubs, and I hated literature classes. For me, reading is inherently solitary.

---

Last night we saw Neil Jordan's Ondine (2009). I am a long-time admirer (that's probably putting it too mildly) of Jordan's films, and this one was everything I'd expect. Brilliant, beautiful, and sublime. Fairy tale and mythology are always there, even when they aren't. Fantasy (truth) is inseparable from reality (fact). It's probably the best film about a selkie ever made, regardless of whether or not there's actually a selkie in it. Yes, even better than The Secret of Roan Inish (1994). Filmed in Cork County, Ireland, the landscape is shades of green and grey and blue that are, at once, perfectly solid and yet too exquisite to have ever existed outside cinematography. Great performances from Colin Farrell (Syracuse), Alicja Bachleda (Ondine), and Alison Barry (Annie). Oh, and how can I not love a film about selkies in which Sigur Rós are integral to the plot! If you ask me, this is a must see.

(We also saw the new episode of Glee, which still rocks.)

---

I sat down yesterday and started reading through "As Red as Red" (in Haunted Legends; I don't know why I've started reading my stories in print; I never used to do this). I reached page 80, where the protagonist travels from Providence to Aquidneck Island and Newport. Only, this is what it says:

I made the commute from Providence to Newport, crossing the East Passage of Narragansett Bay to Conanicut Island and then the West Passage to Aquidneck Island and Newport.

This is, of course, backwards. It's akin to being in Manhattan and saying you're going to travel east to New Jersey. It's that wrong. It should read, "I made the commute from Providence to Newport, crossing the West Passage of Narragansett Bay to Conanicut Island and then the East Passage to Aquidneck Island and Newport." But somehow I wrote it down backwards, and, somehow, despite all the times I read it during editing, the mistake was never corrected. I've made this "commute" more times now than I can recall, and this is just a dumb mistake, one that made it into print. Odds are most readers will never catch it, not unless they're familiar with Rhode Island geography. But I had to point it out, if only in the hopes that the embarrassment will make me more attentive in the future. It was a depressing thing to find.

Okay. That's it for now. How can it already be Thursday? Yeah, I know. Because yesterday was Wednesday....
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
I predict a third day of higgledy piggledy.

I have just discovered that I receive messages via LiveJournal. There are, in fact, 64 of them I have never read, because I never knew they existed. I suspect some may go back to 2004, when I made the jump from Blogger to LJ. Why do I need to get messages at LJ (or Facebook, or Twitter)? I have a perfectly good email address? Anyway, if you've written me at LJ and not received a reply, it's because I'm a technological dullard, not because I'm ignoring you.

Yesterday was meant to be a day off. I looked up from finishing my story for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities (still no title), and realized I'd not left the House for nine days. It just happens. So, we were going to the shore. But as soon as we went Outside, it got cloudy and chilly, and we only made it as far as Newbury Comics, where we got the new Grinderman CD and a comic box of the wrong size. The comic box is because I took all my issues of The Dreaming down off the shelf where I keep books I've written and anthologies I've been in, because I'm probably never going to write comics again, and I needed the shelf space. But this comic book box is enormous, so Spooky's going to store patterns in it, and I'll get a small one later.

I spend a lot of energy trying to avoid politics in my LJ. Why? Because I hate the flamewars that inevitably follow. I thought I'd left that shit behind when I finally escaped the wretched clutches of Usenet. But I commented yesterday, on Facebook and on Twitter, about the Pope's asinine remarks comparing Atheism to Nazism, and, before the day was over, I'd been accused of being anti-Semitic (?!?), and intolerant (?!?), and ignorant of history (?!?). I actually had to tell someone on Facebook to shut up. I'm not sure I've ever told anyone on the web to shut up. At least not in so many words. Anyway, he didn't, so I had to ban him, and I hate doing that shit. I may simply avoid Facebook for a time, since it won't allow me to turn off or screen comments.

Just for the record, I'm not being intolerant by getting angry when someone calls me intolerant for complaining about the intolerance of the Roman Catholic Church (which, by the way, condemns who I am on several levels, and can go fuck itself).

Enough of that crap. I get started, and I'll go on and on. About France's racist decision to ban the wearing of burkas, for example. Or the environmental nightmare caused by planned gadget obsolescence. Or how scary the Teabaggers are becoming.

Speaking of which, I think I've begun to suspect that NIN's Year Zero wasn't so much about Bush's America, as it was a display of prescience on Trent Reznor's part, and the album's really about America after a couple of terms under a Teabagger administration.

But...never mind.

Last night, we watched the remake of The Crazies by director Breck Eisner (produced by George Romero), and starring Timothy Oliphant and Radha Mitchell. I loved it. An amazingly tense and atmospheric film. Very gory, but the gore is handled with wonderful finesse and indirection, making it effective, instead of overwhelming or humorous. The cinematography and score both took me by surprise (in a good way). I never much cared for the original, but the remake is one of the scariest films I've seen in a while. And no, it's not a zombie film, just like Twenty Eight Days Later wasn't a zombie film.

Today, I need to read all the way through this new story that does not yet have a name.

Oh, and my thanks to everyone for the wonderful (and not infuriating) comments to this journal over the last couple of days. I ought to repost a few of them, especially on the subject of science fiction.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Yesterday was just shy of a total loss. I was hit hard by the chronic stomach ailment I've had most of my life. I tried to write anyway. I wrote 344 words for of my piece for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, before I was too sick to think straight enough to write anymore. Then I went back to bed. Later, I made it through dinner and two bottles of Gatorade and almost felt like I wasn't dead. It was a joyous day. And then, when I was trying to go to sleep, there was a small seizure (the first in three weeks), which left me jittery and awake until five ayem.

I strongly dislike writing about health problems in a public forum. I find the act distasteful. But it all has a direct bearing on the abysmal word counts of late. So, I figure it's part of the story. It's not whining, or a cry for pity. It's just exposition.

At least I have David Bowie. And coffee.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We're hoping to have a little bit of spending money when we go to Oregon for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon at the end of the month. Thanks.

We've watched two movies over the last week. Between reading, Second Life, and WoW, I've not been watching many movies lately. Anyway, it gives me something to write about this ayem (which is actually early afternoon).

First, we saw Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo's After.Life (2009) on Thursday night. It wasn't a particularly good film, which was frustrating, because it could have been something just shy of great. Instead, it was weighed down by plot, and story, and subplot, and superfluous characters. The film has flashes of brilliance. Liam Neeson is surprisingly creepy as a mortician turned serial killer, and Christina Ricci was a perfect choice for a girl who is slowly being convinced that she is, in fact, a corpse. And that's the story, right there, all the story the movie needed. More than enough to deal with. But no, it kept dragging itself down into horror and slasher flick clichés, and made what might have been a powerful tale of psychological terror a lumpy, uneven mess. I can't even blame the director for fucking up someone else's screenplay, because it was her screenplay. I just wish someone could have told her to turn down the volume, lose the extra baggage, and tighten the focus. The film never should have left the one room in the mortuary.

Last night, we finally watched Louis Leterrier's remake of Clash of the Titans (2010). I saw the original in high school (1981, directed by Desmond Davis), and even at seventeen, I found the film tiresome and hokey. Even though I was a huge fan of Ray Harryhausen. So, what can I say about the remake? Well, it's still dumb as dirt. I'm still annoyed than the sea monster that comes for Andromeda is, inexplicably "the Kraken" (Norse), instead of Cetus. But, all in all, Leterrier's remake is less painful and not so dull. It has its moments (which the original entirely lacked, save moments of unintentional camp and irony). The whole thing was worth sitting through just for Perseus' battle against the gorgon Medusa (played by Natalia Vodianova, and never, ever has Medusa been so hot). The climactic showdown with "the Kraken" was at least a grand spectacle. So what if the monster design was pretty much lifted from Cloverfield. The 1981 Kraken just made me laugh. At least this one was a presence. The cast was unremarkable (more Liam Neeson, because Zeus = Aslan). I always enjoy watching Sam Worthington, though I'm not sure why. Ralph Fiennes made a fine enough Hades, because I could just pretend he was Voldemort. Alexa Davalos made for an entirely yawn-worthy Andromeda. I'm pretty sure Andromeda should inspire something more than a yawn. Who can blame Perseus for choosing Io?

Okay. Now, I see if this body is going to let me work today. Oh, wait. I have five cute photos of Sméagol:

11 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
We seem to be dodging the bullet of Hurricane Earl. A weather front has nudged it a wee bit eastward, and its been downgraded to a Category One. Mostly, we're looking at heavy rain and some wind, and breathing a sigh of relief. The surfers are happy, even though the Governor of Rhode Island ordered all the state beaches closed yesterday. I'd love to go down to Point Judith or Beavertail and see the waves, but it's unlikely we could get anywhere near the shore.

Meanwhile, Sirenia Digest #57 is still stuck in a holding pattern. Which has me very, very antsy and unable to move on to whatever needs doing next. Today, I may seek an alternate path to the PDF, as someone has volunteered. My thanks to everyone for being so patient.

Not much work yesterday, and what there was consisted, in the main, of email. I had a short interview for Lightspeed, about "Faces in Revolving Souls," which is being reprinted there in November. They'll also be running an author's spotlight on me that month, so I had questions regarding germline bioengineering and retroviruses to answer. Also, "The Belated Burial" is being adapted for podcast by PodCastle. I'll let you know when it's scheduled.

The rest of the day we mostly spent wandering about Providence making preparations against the storm— nonperishable food, jugs of water, candles, and so forth. Stuff we likely won't need now, not this weekend, but which we'll eventually put to good use. I called my mother, back in Alabama. Yesterday was the first anniversary of my stepfather's death, and so it was a hard day for her. We talked for twenty or thirty minutes, about everything from hurricanes to possums.

If anyone out there is feeling charitable, I'd really like to be able to update my OS from OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger) to OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). If I'd ever updated to Leopard, it wouldn't be a big deal, just $29.00. But because I didn't, I appear to need this software bundle for the update. Just saying, if anyone's feeling generous with some disposable cash that isn't doing anything, I wouldn't say no. *

Last night, we watched the third and final film in the Red Riding trilogy, In the Year of Our Lord 1983. The third film, directed by Anand Tucker, is much more like the first, stylistically and structurally. It was beautiful, deeply unsettling, and sublime. I'd say it's a film about redemption, even at the cost of one's life and sanity (which is true, to a lesser degree, of the first film). Tucker's use of flashbacks, nonlinear narrative, and fairy-tale hints is marvelous. Mark Addy's performance as John Piggott is one of the best in all three films. So yes, I recommend these films very strongly. Right now, all three can be streamed from Netflix.

There was rp in Insilco after the movie. I think we got to bed about three, maybe later. Spooky and I are both a week or so behind on our sleep.

Update: Turns out, Apple lies (as do we all). The bundle isn't needed, and I can update directly from Tiger to Snow Leopard, so all I need is the 29.00 thingy. Baaaaad Apple marketing!

Update 2 (4:51 p.m.): One trip to the Apple Store and a 45-minute install later, and Arwen is now running OS X 10.6.3. And yes, I named my iMac Arwen.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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