greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday, I finished Study #2 for Yellow. I'll post photographs of it tomorrow. While I was working on this painting, I didn't let myself look at images of Study #1 for Yellow. So, I was sort of astounded when I finally did yesterday, and saw how much better the second painting is than the first. This one will go up on eBay, but I have a feeling I won't be offering another painting for a while. The next couple, I'm going to want to hang onto. It's not like selling a short story or a novel. You're not really giving anything away. These days, I don't even send an editor a hard copy of a manuscript. The paintings are solid, tangible, and they go away, and they're gone.

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

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

There a photos below, behind the cut.

---

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

---

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

---

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

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

Last Warm Day, 28 October 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
I'm going to do my best to make this short, as I don't need to spend energy on this entry that ought to be spent writing.

I've gotten nothing much written since we returned home on October 5th. And now I have to push to get Sirenia Digest out on time. I only need two good ideas. It's a lot harder than it looks. Especially the part where you take the ideas and make them into story. Oh, and suggestions are always welcome, but keep in mind we're talking vignettes under 3,000 words, so don't go getting expansive.

Someday I'll compile a chapbook devoted entirely to absurd, degrading, and insulting writing gigs I've been offered and turned down. Most recently, referred to, in a veiled manner, in the entries of September 28th and 29th. An offer to write graphic novel tie-ins to a Big Name Paranormal Romance Writer's crappy novels. Mostly, when I realized what the job actually was, I was dumbfounded. Have I not made it excruciatingly clear that I want nothing to do with trashy paranormal romance novels? Have I not also made it clear I consider them a blight on fantasy and dark fiction, a disease that I hope will pass very soon? More importantly, who could possibly read my fiction, and claim to be a fan, and then imagine I'd consider working anywhere near that wretched subgenre? It makes my head spin, the absence of logical connections at work in a scenario like this. Anyway, I said no, which was fairly easy, because the pay rate was abominably low, with no royalties whatsoever, and I'd have had to set aside real work, and kowtow to the whims of the author in question and her editor while scripting inane stories from inane outlines, because of all this..and have I mentioned how I feel about paranormal romance?

And no, I do not care how many books you've sold. It's not that I'm above whoring, but I'm not a cheap whore. Nor am I an undiscerning whore. And if what I've said here offends you as a writer, write better books. If it offends you as a reader, read better books.

Really guys. Ducks in a row, please.

No, Caitlín that was not particularly politic.

Remember what they say,
There`s no shortcut to a dream.
It`s all blood and sweat,
And life is what you manage in between.


---

Yesterday afternoon, hoping to see some fall foliage, we drove to north to Woonsocket, then into Massachusetts, through Millville, Uxbridge, Northridge, Whitinsville, Saundersville, Sutton, and Millbury. But we chose our route very poorly, and were never able to clear the quasi-rural, but really sort of suburban, sprawl that lies south of Worcester and west of Boston. About the only good part of the day was returning to Rolling Dam in the Blackstone River Gorge, in Millville, which we first visited back on July 16th. We should have just stayed there, instead of seeking leaves between the patches of squalor. Anyway, I have photos, but I'm going to wait until tomorrow to post them.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks. Also, Spooky has listed her Halloween-related wares in her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries shop, but they will only be up until November 1st. So, check that out, as well.

---

On Saturday, I searched for ideas for vignettes. I worked on a long interview. I read two stories in Haunted Legends (I'm beginning to make an effort to read the anthologies my stories appear in). One by Jeffery Ford, and one by Joe R. Landsdale. I think I liked the former more than the latter, and it had some odd resonances with The Red Tree. Before I fell asleep, Spooky read "The Haunter in the Dark" to me.

Okay...the platypus says this entry stops HERE.
greygirlbeast: (Lucy)
A nippy morning here in Providence (though it's almost a nippy afternoon). 62F at the moment. We're thinking we have to do our tour of the autumn leaves this weekend or we're going to miss out on the peak altogether. Before I forget, congratulations to Peter for being awarded the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award. Booya!

No actual writing-type writing yesterday. I had a half-assed idea of cleaning house while Spooky worked on the taxes, because [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark is supposed to visit this evening. But that didn't happen. Instead, I tried to work. I did an interview for Jeff VanderMeer's Booklifenow website, about writing "As Red As Red" (in Haunted Legends). And I sent my HPLFF keynote speech to S.T. Joshi, as he wants to print it in the Lovecraft Annual. I also sent him "Houndwife," which will be reprinted in Black Wings II (PS Publishing), and "Fish Bride," which will be reprinted in The Weird Fiction Review. And then, getting back around to "There Will Be Kisses For Us All," I reread Stoker's "Dracula's Guest."

Over on Facebook, James Jeffrey Paul made mention of the fact that at least one Dracula scholar has suggested that Countess Dolingen of Graz, the vampire who menaces the unnamed Englishman (?Johnathan Harker) in "Dracula's Guest," might be one of the three "brides" in Dracula— the "fair" woman. Stoker writes: "The other was fair, as fair as can be, with great masses of golden hair and eyes like pale sapphires. I seemed somehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where."

I'm not sure I'm convinced that the two are, in fact, intended to the same character, but it is an interesting possibility, and I may use it.

Other reading yesterday included beginning Chapter Two of Volume One of Joshi's I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft, and also beginning a paper in the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, "Osteology of a new giant bony-toothed bird from the Miocene of Chile, with a revision of the taxonomy of Neogene Pelagornithidae." Indeed, Pelagornis chilensis is a marvel, a bird with a wingspan of 5.2 meters! By comparison, the wingspan of the Great albatross (Diomedea) is a mere 3 meters.

---

Regarding various auctions: The auction for the one and only CRK "napoval" ends tomorrow. And there are, of course, the other eBay auctions. Also, check out the raffle to benefit the KGB Reading series (which I have taken part in twice, now). I've made two contributions to the raffle this year: A signed copy of the trade paperback of The Red Tree (I'll also draw a tree on the title page), and a chance to be "Tuckerized" in a forthcoming story. Raffle tickets are only one buck apiece, for a very good cause.

Also, a reminder that I will be reading and signing at the Brown University Bookstore on the evening of October 30th, 2010. Also, it will be a costumed event (optional, of course).

---

My great thanks to [livejournal.com profile] yukio20 for bringing a bit of news from Blizzard to my attention (I don't usually follow the forums, so I'd missed it):

Since the release of 4.0.1, more than a few warlocks have noticed that their pets are in fact no longer their familiar demonic servants, and instead appear to be new entities with different names. We’ve been able to pinpoint the cause of the issue, which should be resolved by tomorrow for any warlocks that log in for the first time from then on. We’ve also been able to determine that we will be able to restore any renamed warlock pets to their original pre-4.0.1 names during next week’s scheduled maintenance. For those of you who like your new pet names, we’re working on a feature for a future patch that will allow you to refresh your summons and essentially generate a random pet name without having to level a new warlock.

So...Greezun, Volyal, and Drusneth will be coming home. It appears they only took a vacation to Booty Bay without telling me, and hired these impostors from some infernal temp agency. Speaking of WoW, Spooky and I restructured our talent trees last night, and began trying to make sense of the havoc that Blizzard has wrought to various spells and abilities. Truly, someone needs to tell Blizzard that there's a huge difference between fixing/improving things and simply changing things. Most of Patch 4.0.1 is a sad, confusing case of the latter. I would stop just (barely) short of saying the game is currently broken.

Oh, and we also watched the new episodes of Glee and Caprica last night. I am very pleased that Glee appears to have redeemed itself for last week's god-bothering episode, and I think it's only a matter of time before Brittany comes out. Also, how cool is it that the new kid, Sam, speaks Na'vi? Great, great episode of Caprica.

---

And here's the next set of photos from the HPLFF. The festival put us up in a grand bed and breakfast, the White House (built in 1911). We had the balcony room. The house is watched over by an elderly albino Scottish Terrier named Prescott. We couldn't help but take a ton of photos of the place:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 7 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Spooky and I just made a deal, that we would never again both smile at the same time. It was just all kinds of wrong. And we weren't even really smiling. We were sort of grimacing. So, we're really agreeing never again to bare our teeth like that at the same time.

Kind of muggy and sticky and too warm here in Providence.

I just got the artwork from Vince for Sirenia Digest #58 (and I love it). But it seems very unlikely that I'll be able to find time to get the issue out before we leave for Portland. Again I apologize. I hate being late with anything, ever. Tardiness just irks me. I am a punctual beast.

As for yesterday's interesting email from my agent, let's just say that not all unexpected opportunites are good, and so we move on.

I'm trying to be higgledy-piggledy without the --- dividers. Seems more honest.

Still much too much to get done before we leave in the morning. I have a very long list. Yesterday, we drove to South County, to Spooky's parents' place. We have a housesitter for the days we'll be away, but Spooky's mom will be coming up to give Sméagol the malt-flavored prednisone he takes for his plasma cell pododermatitis. So, we took her a key. On the farm, wild grapes and ferns were going yellow with autumn, and there were autumnal bursts of red in a few trees. It was raining and windy, and I thought about the much worse weather in New York and New Jersey and Connecticut. I visited the steamsquid, who's getting along quite well, a year and a half after we rescued himherit. Afterwards, we drove to Warwick, and I looked for a couple of pairs of pants at the thrift store. I have developed an almost religious enthusiasm for thrift stores of late (in spite of garish overhead lighting). Anyway, I found two pairs, including an absurdly large pair of brown corduroys. I almost got a pair of seersucker pants, but it's late in the year for seersucker.

I read two more stories in Haunted Legends, Steven Pirie's "The Spring Heel" and Laird Barron's "The Redfield Girls." I liked both, but found the Pirie story especially effective. And we finished Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl last night, which is truly excellent, and which I strongly recommend.

I also finished Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age late last night, when I should have been asleep, but was, instead, awake. My opinion at the end is pretty much the same as it was halfway through the novel. Wonderful worldbuilding, an intriguing (if far-fetched) future, an interesting quasi-Dickens pastiche, but not a single act of characterization in sight. The novel is actually more like a long outline for a novel. It's a great mountain of plot and ideas. This happened, and this happened, and this happened. But...we are never allowed to see into the people to whom all this plot is happening. Sometimes, we're told how someone feels, but we're pretty much never shown. Which makes this only one half of a good novel; I can't even consider it finished. It's sort of amazing, that a book can be so devoid of characterization. Anyway, I think I'll read the new China Miéville next. And probably a bunch of other stuff, because I seem unable to read only one book at a time.

This will be my last entry until after Portland, and I feel like I'm forgetting shit.

I read "Pickman's Other Model" aloud last night. It's the piece I want to use for my reading on Sunday. The reading's an hour long, and reading the story at a leisurely pace, it came in at about fifty-five minutes. So, I don't know. I'll either read it, or something from The Ammonite Violin & Others. Oh, and DO NOT FORGET. This weekend is be kind to Spooky weekend. Oak moss and voodoo donuts. I'm serious. Just don't try to hug her, because she bites.

And while I won't be tweeting, or blogging, or facebooking (???) on this trip, I will be taking tons of photos, and will post a bunch of them afterwards.

Now, I think I need a bath.

Oh, fuck! It's National Coffee Day!
greygirlbeast: (Default)
To quote the ever quotable Malcolm Reynolds, "So here is us, on the raggedy edge." That seems to have a different meaning to me every day. Today it means we're bracing for Hurricane Earl. Right now, we have a Tropical Storm Warning, just upgraded from a Tropical Storm Watch. Right now, the Weather Channel has us in the red zone, at a "high" threat level. Fortunately, we're on a hill outside the evacuation zone, so at least we probably don't have to worry about flooding. We'll be going out this evening to get supplies, just in case. Meanwhile, it's still hot as hell.

And neither of us slept much last night.

All day yesterday was spent on Sirenia Digest #57. But last night our PDFer began having technical difficulties, which is why, if you're a subscriber, you don't yet have the issue. We're trying to sort this out as quickly as we can. But with the storm on its way, it's not impossible that it may be Sunday evening before the issue goes out. Never in its four-year history has an issue of the digest been so late (which is sort of amazing, really), and I hope everyone will bear with us. We'll get it to you as soon as is feasible, promise.

I'm reading Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age: A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, and liking it so far. It's more than a little on the techno-fetish end of SF, but I'm fascinated by his future Victorians and the idea of the primer. I'm also doing something I pretty much never do. I'm reading one of my own published books, The Ammonite Violin & Others. I'm reading the stories out of order, just as they catch my eye. Right now I'm reading through "In the Dreamtime of Lady Resurrection." I think these stories have held up very well, and I usually can't stand reading my own stuff in print.

Also, some good rp in Insilico last night.

And now, I must go sweat some more. And answer email. While I sweat.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Spooky's getting ready to take Sméagol back to the vet, because the abscess on his foot has turned into cellulitis. He's spry and eating, no fever and seems to be in no pain, but obviously we're worried (and never mind the damned vet bills). Oh, now Spooky's gone. Well, there you go.

The last couple of days I haven't been in that blogging frame of mind, whatever that blogging frame of mind might be. I think there was a post con crash, which happens sometimes. I'm on for three days, then suddenly I'm off. I'm surrounded by people for three days, then suddenly I'm my old reclusive self again. It didn't help that the last panel I had for Readercon 21, the "Gender and Sexuality in F/SF" late on Sunday, left such a bad taste in my mouth. I keep thinking of things I wish I'd said to the idiot who accused us of being "selfish" for not taking the feelings of readers into account when writing taboo subjects (lesbianism, it seems, is a taboo subject). I wish that I'd said, "Look, asshole. I will never make enough money to own a house. My teeth are shot. I can barely pay my bills. I have no health insurance, and I'll never be able to retire, ever. Writing almost every day for eighteen years has left me with a wrecked body and shot nerves. I need new glasses and can't afford them. The stress of this life led to seizures that have led to the need for medications I can't afford, but have to have, regardless. So, shut the hell up, you tight-assed little twerp, and let me write whatever it is I need to write. It's the only solace I have in this shitty job. I spent four hundred dollars I haven't got to attend this convention, and I'm not paying for the privilege of being called selfish by fools like you." Or something like that.

And I'm not going to start in on the two or three people (all female) who thought books need "warning labels," like "the ingredients list on food," so they wouldn't come upon a scene that offended their precious, fragile sensibilities. And why the fuck am I on about this again?

---

A good writing day yesterday. I did 1,644 words on the Next New Novel, beginning it for the third time. I'll say more about this situation in a few days, when I feel a little more self confident.

Later, we stopped by the farmer's market at the Dexter Training Grounds for fresh corn, and I finally got a new office/writing chair. The one I've had since 2003 or 2004 was, literally, falling apart, and doing horrible things to my back. And by the way, I'm going to make an effort not to talk so much about health and money problems here. It's something I personally find gauche, and would prefer not to ever do. There's just been so damn much of it lately.

Spooky has begun a new round of eBay auctions, which are important, as we have to cover the cost of Readercon and Sméagol's vet bills. So, please have a look. Bid if you are able. In particular, there's the Salammbô T-shirt (art by the astounding Richard A. Kirk), one of the last from the batch of 500 that were printed in 2000 to promote the original release of Tales of Pain and Wonder. We only have four left. We began this auction a couple of weeks ago, then ended it, because I didn't really have time to promote the item. If you're interested in rare stuff related to my work, this is one of the rarest you're going to come across, ever.

---

The last few days, besides writing and house cleaning and cat doctoring, we've been watching Season Two of 24 and Season One of Nip/Tuck. I've been reading Angela Carter's exquisite Wise Children (1991; Kathe Koja's Under the Poppy is next). We've played a little WoW, still trying to get Shah and Suraa through Icecrown. I've been making my way through the latest Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and read "Tetrapod fauna of the lowermost Usili Formation (Songea Group, Ruhuhu Basin) of southern Tanzania, with a new burnetiid record" and "A new and unusual procolophonid parareptile from the Lower Permian of Texas." I've mostly been sleeping well.

Yesterday, there was cautious relief at the news that BP's latest cap tests have temporarily staunched the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. But I get the impression a lot of people think this means the oil isn't going to start flowing again (though even BP has stressed that it will). And, of course, even if no new oil were to enter the Gulf after today, there's presently almost 200 million gallons of oil befouling the area affected by the petrocalamity.

---

On Tuesday, we took in a matinée of Nimród Antal's Predators, which Spooky and I both enjoyed very much. My complaints are few. I would have liked it to be maybe half an hour longer, as it seemed a little rushed. But the creatures SFX were very good, and I can't get enough of Adrien Brody. John Debney's soundtrack was quite effective. Definitely a film that needs to be seen on a big screen. It's great fun, and I was in need of a Big Monster Movie that's great fun.

We also finally saw the Doctor Who "The End of Time" episodes. I thought the first half was a bit silly, but loved the second half. Has a doctor ever before refused so vehemently to go quietly into that gentle night? I'm going to miss David Tenant something fierce.

Okay...far too long an entry. The platypus says no one's going to read all this. I replied that I will, one year from now.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Home again. It's going to be a very hot day here in Providence. Not as hot as the triple digits of last week, but hot. Dr. Muñoz has been wheeled into my office, in hopes I can manage to work through the broil and sizzle.

As for Readercon 21, it went very well. In some ways, it was my favorite Readercon thus far (it was my third), though in some ways it was also the hardest and most trying. I suppose I could attempt to do this in a day-by-day format. But I think that would be tiresome, both for me to write and for you to read. Maybe I could make a list of notable moments. Maybe that's a better idea. And, afterwards, there are a few unremarkable photos. Spooky had the camera, but few photos were taken (however, the ones that were, prove I have begun a transformation into a Muppet).

* It was heavenly, having an air-conditioned room for three straight nights, sleep without sweat, and so forth. We also had television, which we've pretty much been without for more than two years. That part was very strange, and left me missing television not in the least.

* During the convention, I managed to miss almost all of the programming that I wanted to see, including, on Thursday night, Greer's ([livejournal.com profile] nineweaving) and Michael Cisco's readings. Truthfully, in my defence, I had no idea that there was any programming on Thursday night, which might teach me to start actually reading the schedule. I did make Greer's "How I Wrote Cloud and Ashes" presentation on Saturday, and Peter's "How I Wrote Skylark/A Dark Matter," two very bright spots during the weekend. The only other two panels I attended where I wasn't a panelist were "The New and Improved Future of Magazines, Pt. 1" and "Comparing Translations Redux: E.T.A. Hoffman's "The Golden Pot" (1814)."

* As for panels in which I was a participant, the best of the lot was certainly "New England: At Home to the Unheimlich," thanks, in large part, to Elizabeth Hand's skillful moderation. Mostly, I don't like doing panels. My last bit of programming was my last panel of the con, "It Is, It Is, It Really Is Fiction: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary F&SF," which would have been utterly insufferable, except for the presence of Cat Valente ([livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna) as a co-discussant. I'm not going to go into any great detail about the idiot who accused us of being "selfish" for not taking into account the sensibilities of potential readers before we wrote about "taboo subjects." Or the people who whined about needing to know exactly the sort of sexuality they were in for before buying a book, lest they be faced with something they find distasteful. You know, books as consumer goods, not books as art. All that needs saying is that I did not come charging down from the stage and bitch slap anybody. I only barked loudly. I think the panel was saved when Cat and I detoured into a debate concerning the relationship of Captain Jack and Ianto Jones. Otherwise, it was mostly a washout.

* I did not see nearly enough of Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala).

* Probably the most wonderful bit of the whole con took place very late on Saturday night and very early on Sunday morning. An impromptu group convened, consisting of myself, Greer, Sonya Taaffe ([livejournal.com profile] sovay), Geoffrey Goodwin ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedar), Gemma Files ([livejournal.com profile] handfulof_dust), Spooky ([livejournal.com profile] humglum), Erik Amundsen ([livejournal.com profile] cucumberseed), and Micheal Cisco. It began as two or three unrelated conversations, but eventually turned into something like a full-fledged workshop addressing the problems I've had writing the Next New Novel, the one I have been calling The Wolf Who Cried Girl. Many persuasive arguments were made. I listened, and offered counterarguments. I listened to the counter-counterarguments, which grew increasingly convincing. By two ayem, I'd come to see the novel as an entirely different beast than I'd thought it was, and hopefully one I can write over the next few months. My great, great thanks to everyone. You may have saved my life.

* It was great to finally meet Paul T. Riddell ([livejournal.com profile] txtriffidranch), he of Texas Triffid Ranch. He gifted me and Spooky with a twenty-year-old horse-crippler cactus (Echinocactus texensis), and showed me his magnificent Anomalocaris tattoo. Paleo-related tattoos almost seemed like a theme during the con. I also met Nevenah Smith, who has a lovely Platecarpus skeleton tattooed on her left leg, and a tattoo of Coelurosauravus tattooed on her right forearm.

* I did my best to buy no books. And, in fact, I only paid for a copy of Elizabeth Hand's Generation Loss, which I got for $3, and a copy of Cat's Yume No Uon: The Book of Dreams, which I got for $10. But then Geoffrey and I got our hands on an ARC of Kathe Koja's forthcoming Under the Poppy. And then, Spooky and I ran into the amazing Kelly Link at the Small Beer Press table, just as the dealer's room was getting ready to close, and she gifted us with a small mountain of books, including her own Pretty Monsters, Joan Aiken's The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories, and Holly Black's ([livejournal.com profile] blackholly) The Poison Eaters and Other Stories.

* The reading for Ellen Datlow's ([livejournal.com profile] ellen_dalow) Haunted Legends anthology went well. I read the first two sections of "As Red as Red." My own reading on Sunday didn't go so well, I don't think. Great crowd, but I was exhausted and, I discovered, "The Sea Troll's Daughter" is a hard story to read aloud, especially when it must be read quickly, in order to squeeze it into a single hour.

* The Red Tree did not win The Shirley Jackson Award for best novel of 2009, but— and I'm serious —I'm so proud of the nomination and the little stone I got denoting the nomination, that I can't imagine I'd have been a whole lot happier if it had won. To have my novel chosen by such a distinguished group of jurors and advisors, as one of the six novels from last year worthy of the award, that was recognition enough.

* Friday's reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream went very well. Indeed, there's talk of doing The Tempest next year.

And on that note— though I'm surely leaving out lots and lots —I'm going to leave you with a few photos. There is work I have to get done today, the platypus reminds me. But later, my favorite quotes from the weekend...

Readercon 21, July 9-11, 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Early Permian)
Running late today. The dreams are getting bad again, and that may be one or another of the new meds, and it may not be. But at least there's no dreamsickness. They fade almost as soon as I'm awake, and there's only the sense of an interrupted reality, replaced by this reality, which is no more or less convincing than those lost realities. A sunny, warm day here in Providence. I almost wrote "morning," then realized that it's already after noon.

There's a really marvelous review of The Ammonite Violin & Others in the new Booklist (review by Regina Schroeder):

Kiernan’s stories clearly descend from archetypal tales, though she adds a depth and a clarity of vision all her own. From “The Ammonite Violin,” in which a collector achieves the pinnacle of his obsession, and a musician discovers the true power of her craft, to the story of a girl who loves the rat king and holds in her care the whistle the rats used to create the world, her stories give us a side of timeless scenarios that have usually been left unspoken. There are always costs to being a part of these stories, and they aren’t always gladly paid by those peripheral to the heroes, as the narrators often are. In “For One Who Has Lost Herself,” the price is the awful truth that comes after the end of a story we already pretty much knew; that is, what happens to the selkie after the young man who stole her sealskin has vanished. Brilliantly crafted, tightly woven, and memorable, the worlds of Kiernan’s imagination are odd places, quite fascinating to poke around in.

I feel like, with The Red Tree, Sirenia Digest, A is for Alien, and now The Ammonite Violin & Others, I'm finally getting close to what I've been trying to do since the start. After so much frustration and so many wrong turns, I'm finally telling the stories I need to tell, the way that I need to tell them. The language is finally working for me. I don't know if I'll still feel this way in five or ten years, looking back. But that's how it feels right now.

---

Yesterday, we left Providence and spent the day on Conanicut Island, at Beavertail. The day was dazzling, brilliant, the blue sky hung with just enough clouds so as not to be disconcerting. We parked on the western side of the point, which we've not explored as well as the eastern side. Largely, this is because the eastern side is sheltered from the wind, and even on warm days, the wind off Narragansett Bay can be uncomfortably cold. Yesterday, we didn't let that dissuade us. We climbed over the craggy outcrops of Cambro-Ordovician age Fort Burnside Formation and Jamestown Formation, crazily tilted beds of phyllite and slate and siltstone and stark white veins of calcite. We started about a quarter mile northwest of the lighthouse, and worked our way southeast. The tide was out, and so we could reach some of the pebbly beaches. We spent a couple of hours searching for sea glass while the cormorants and gulls wheeled overhead and the bell buoy clanged. I've been feeling bad about never using the Canon PowerShot A75, so I'd brought it along. I've decided that this summer I'll use it, while Spooky uses the newer Powershot A1100IS. So I took photos yesterday with the older camera. We sat and watched the sea. The wind had a bite, especially when the sun would slip behind the clouds. Still, we sat and listened to the sea. There were rabbits and red-winged blackbirds and the dog roses have begun to bloom, pink and white. We saw the ospreys nesting just north of Great Creek.

Here are my photos from yesterday. I'll post some of Spooky's tomorrow:

16 May 2010 )


Last night, we finished reading Patti Smith's Just Kids, which, if you don't know, focuses on her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe. I read the entire book aloud to Kathryn. And I've been dreading the ending, and had promised my self I'd get through it without crying. It was a stupid promise. It seemed like it took me an hour to read the last few pages, and we were both crying. But it's a beautiful, beautiful book. And later this week, we'll be seeing Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe at the RISD museum.

---

I'm going to try to get Sirenia Digest #54 out sometime in the next couple of days, early, so that I can focus all my attention on starting "The Maltese Unicorn."
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
The sky is going light here in Providence. Official sunrise isn't until 5:37 a.m., but it's only 5:11 and you could read a newspaper out there. The sky is that specific shade of violet-blue-grey than comes before dawn. I have lain awake for hours, trying not to keep Spooky awake. I tried reading, music, all the usual tricks. All my meds which have, in the last three weeks or so, been helping me sleep more than at any point during the last several years, inexplicably failed me tonight. Even a dose of Ambien, no longer part of my regimen, that I broke down and took before 4 a.m. has had no effect. And so I am awake, and I loathe this time of the morning. The world quite around me, quite and still, birds, people sleeping or just waking up, the house so quiet.

So...I'll likely spend this day in a fog, neither quite awake nor quite asleep. I'm rarely nearer true madness, I think, than when I am so deeply in the embrace of Monsieur Insomnia.

What else do you say at dawn? Other than, I wish I were asleep.

This is actually the second consecutive night of sleeplessness, though last night was not nearly this bad. An Ambien solved the problem. But it left me in a haze all day long, a haze through which I could not work. I managed the blog entry and most of the day's email. After that, as the House began to heat up, there was talk of heading back to the shore. But I wasn't up to it. Instead, I read to Spooky from Patti Smith's Just Kids and she read to me from Gregory Maguire's A Lion Among Men.

The ebay auctions end tomorrow, I think, and I'd be grateful if you'd please have a look. Thanks. And my thanks to those who have bid already.

I have more photographs from Monday, including "Spider Cove" (41˚28'43.08"N/71˚21'45.35"W):

3 May 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
My head is filled with random bits of Saturday night that I've not written down, or written down nowhere but my Moleskinne notebook. The "rickshaws" along Massachusetts Avenue, for example. Or leaving Boston after the show, and Mass Ave being littered with scattered pods of drunken idiots trying to hail cabs. Passing MIT in the night. On our way back down I-95 to Providence, and the moon shining through a thin cloud cover, reflected on the glassy black water of Manchester Pond just before we crossed the state line into Rhode Island. Impressions, most of them already lost or remembered only by my unconscious mind.

On Sunday, I proofed the galley pages for "As Red as Red" (written about this time last year), which will be appearing later this year in Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas' Haunted Legends anthology (Tor Books). I still like the story much more than I expected. A year is usually long enough for me to begin disliking what I've written. But, anyway, nothing new was written on Sunday.

Nothing new was written yesterday, either. Though I sat here all damn day, staring at the screen, staring at Vince's illustration (which this next vignette will be based upon), reading things that ought to inspire, looking at art that ought to inspire. I have to have better luck today. Even so, subscribers should play it safe and expect Sirenia Digest #53 to be a day or two late this month. I'm hoping it will go out on May 2nd. Still, we could get astoundingly lucky and get it out on the night of April 30th. I'm just not going to count on that happening.

A wonderful package arrived yesterday, from Steven Lubold of Laughing Ogre Comics in Fairfax, Virginia. Literary care packages are always much appreciated. This one contained the second issue of The Guild comic, along with Patti Smith's Just Kids, Mark Miller and John Romita, Jr.'s Kick-Ass, and Patagonian Mesozoic Reptiles. So, many thanks, Mr. Lubold. You rock. We began reading Just Kids last night, because, currently, my superpower seems to be reading too many books all at once. Currently, I'm also trying to finish Greer Gilman's Cloud and Ashes, Gregory Maguire's A Lion Among Men, Matthew Goodman's book on the 1835 moon hoax, and the third volume of E. C. Segar's collected Popeye strips. That's at least three books too many.

Yesterday, the mail also brought a book looking for a blurb. At the moment, I have two of those waiting for me to get to them. Even after all these years, I am still unaccustomed to editors asking me for promotional blurbs.

Sunday night, we watched Richard Curtis' Pirate Radio. An oddly adorable movie that proves, yet again, that Philip Seymour Hoffman can do no wrong.

And here are thirteen photos from the Faith and the Muse show on Saturday night, as promised. It wasn't easy choosing thirteen from fifty-eight (well, except for those showing only the backs of anonymous heads):

Faith and the Muse, 24 April 2010, Boston )
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
There's an entry I'd meant to make today, but I think I'm going to wait until tomorrow.

Instead, I'll simply say that nothing was written yesterday.

We read more of Gregory Macguire's A Lion Among Men. We also watched Drew Barrymore's Whip It (2009), which we both loved. A very funny, sweet coming-of-age film in which hot girls on roller skates beat the shit out of one another. What's not to love? Plus, you get Zoe Bell. Strongly recommended.
greygirlbeast: (Blood elf 2)
1. Most of yesterday was spent looking for a new short story. I haven't yet found it. I sat here at the keyboard, allowing my mind to wander wherever it seemed to need to wander. At some point, I ended up reading S.T. Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos (2008, Mythos Books). Around 5 p.m. (CaST) my agent called, and we talked a while, mostly about my health and how I'm not making progress on The Wolf Who Cried Girl. She was both understanding and encouraging. "You'll get it written when you get it written," she said, which is a truism, sure, but one of the comforting sort to hear from one's agent.

I believe, at this point, finding my way into the book may be a matter of taking a rather complex plot— which I worked out back in December and January —and tearing most of it away until only the most central and essential elements remain. I want a novel less like, say, Daughter of Hounds or Threshold, and more like The Red Tree. The fewest characters possible. The most personal and claustrophobic narrative I may manage. A story driven more by characterization, mood, and theme, and less by plot. It's in there somewhere, the story that I need to tell. I need only tease it free of my annoying preconceptions of this novel.

2. The postman brought me a review copy of Thomas Ligotti's forthcoming The Conspiracy Against the Human Race (Hippocampus Press)— his first work of nonfiction —which, at least from a cursory glance, seems like something I meant to write ten years farther along. Ah, well. Now Ligotti can take the heat for speaking the nihilism and for this "unsparing dissection of the sophisms spun by life's apologists," and all I have to do is sit back and nod my head from the shadows.

3. Last night, we played more WoW than I've had at a sitting in...well, a couple of months. It's a game I have to go away from and come back to every now and then, if it is to retain my interest. Shaharrazad and Suraa quested in the Grizzly Hills, and Suraa (Spooky) made Level 77. Shah is almost to 77. I hope that the great reboot of Cataclysm brings the design of the rest of Azeroth more in line with Northrend, as these environments are so much better realized than anything in either Kalimdor or the Eastern Kingdoms.

4. The sleeplessness was back last night. I read from John Steele Gordon's A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable (2002), until I finally got sleepy, sometime after four ayem.

5. And here at four photos I snapped at Harbor of Refuge on Wednesday. They're not terribly good. It was freezing, sleeting, and the wind was so strong it actually kept threatening to push me over. The photos failed to capture the actual color of the sea, but they do capture something of the bleakness of the day:

3 March 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) is back in Framingham now. Unfortunately, I may never wake up.

In a comment to yesterday entry, Chris ([livejournal.com profile] scarletboi) wrote:

I keep running into people saying (of the Evelyn Evelyn kerfluffle) that fiction must be consensual.

And I have no fucking idea what this means, "fictional must be consensual." I suppose I could waste part of my life googling to find out, but if it means anything close to what Spooky says she thinks it means...I honestly don't want to know. I really do fear that the world is getting too stupid for me to participate.

Maybe it's time to cut my losses and gracefully bow out.

Yesterday, the ice began to crack, the ice in my skull, and I started a new piece called "Persephone Redux," though I only wrote 600 words. Alas, I may be spending all of today in bed trying to recover from insomnia and other nonconsensual crimes that have recently been wrought upon my mind and body.
greygirlbeast: (Walter1)
1. Something strange this morning. Someone going by "Blue Tyson" has posted a one-star review of The Red Tree to Amazon.com. Thing is, it's not actually a review of the book. Instead, the "review," titled "Blacklisted - Georestricted," reads: This book is georestricted and hence will not be bought. Unfortunately it is probably good, too. Now, I have no bloody idea what this means, but I see the same person has posted identical "reviews" to novels by a number of other authors. I've reported it as "inappropriate," and I'd like to ask my readers to please do likewise, as the novel and I certainly do not need a one-star review that's not even a "review" dragging down the book's rating. Thanks. It's an easy process. Just click "report this." Eventually, Amazon.com will take it down. Also, if anyone can explain to me what this bullshit is all about, I'd appreciate it.

2. I slept too late. I must have been truly exhausted, as I slept more than eight hours without Ambien. And now I'm running hopelessly behind today.

3. Not much to yesterday. Decompression. No work done, speaking of getting even farther behind. I managed a hot bath, a very large corned-beef sandwich, and a nap.

4. I did get a rather marvelous email from Micheal Cisco, a link to a short film (very short) that David Lynch made to commemorate the centennial of the Lumière Brothers' first motion picture.

5. Kathryn and I have begun reading Peter Straub's new novel, The Dark Matter, which we're both loving. We made it through the first forty-three pages yesterday evening. The book will be released on February 9th. So, now we're reading three novels simultaneously: Dark Matter, along with Greer Gilman's Cloud and Ashes and Francesca Lia Block's Pretty Dead. I hate reading more than a single novel at a time, but....

6. Last night, we watched Karyn Kusama's Jennifer's Body. I'd avoided it in theateres, because I'm really not a fan of Diablo Cody (and let's not get into that here, please). But it's actually quite good. The comparisons with Gingersnaps and Heathers that I've seen are apt. Definitely one of the few good "horror" films of the last year. The kitchen scene, just after Jennifer's reanimation, was probably my favorite bit. I think I will need to own this one on DVD. We also saw the latest episode of Fringe, which was good. I'm starting to think Playing God would have been a better title for the series. But, I'm an atheist, and I probably fail to appreciate how a title like that would have pissed off a significant percentage of the series' potential viewership. I also fail to care, so there you go.

7. An idea has occurred to me, a sort of more transgressive take on the loathsome "paranormal romance" subgenre, which I may pitch to my agent and editor as a three-book series, and which I would write under the pseudonym Kathleen Tierney (if you know your Gælic, this is essentially the same name as "Caitlín Kiernan"*). I'm not sure where I would find the time, but it might be fun. Geoffrey and Kathryn find the idea intriguing. There would be incestuous lesbian half sisters, demons, interdimensional travel, vampirism, an order of ceremonial magicians bent on some appropriately dark purpose, and all sort of Lovecraftian frippery. One trick would be to circumnavigate the default (and ironic) homophobia of "pr." We shall see.

8. I promised there would be more photos from the trip to New York, and there are, behind the cut. They're a bit grainy, because we decided to use only the available light and not disrupt everything with a flash. I may post two more sets, one of the Montauk Club's architecture, and another of Grand Central Station.

15-16 January 2010, Part 2 )


* In both instances, the surname is an anglicized derivation of the Irish surname Ó Tighearnaigh.
greygirlbeast: (white)
We awoke to a dusting of new snow.

Yesterday, I managed to write what might be the first 1,255 words on the prologue of The Wolf Who Cried Girl. I won't really know if I'm on the right track until I read it again today, but I do have some faint hope of finishing the prologue this afternoon. Unless I have to throw these words out and start anew; I am having a great deal of difficulty finding the tone of this novel, finding its voice.

But yeah, a much better day, as far as writing is concerned.

Also, well...there is some really cool news regarding the Audible.com adaptation of The Red Tree, but I haven't yet asked permission to share it, so that will have to wait. But...it's cool.

---

Also, yesterday I started reading "A reevaluation of the manus structure in Triceratops (Ceratopsia; Ceratopsidae)," and finished Alan Weisman's brilliant The World Without Man (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007). It's not an easy book to read, even when you already have a pretty good idea how much human beings have loused up this planet. And yet, despite the catalog of extinctions and poisons (including dioxins which will still be here when the sun finally novas, billions of years after humans have finally become extinct), it is a book laced through and through with hope. Because it calmly and with good science assures us that life on Earth will continue long after Homo sapiens is gone, even if Homo sapiens will have forever altered the course of evolution. As marine biologist Eric Sala put it (quoted by Weisman), "If the planet can recover from the Permian, it can recover from the human." And that is a comforting thought, indeed. I strongly urge you to find and read this book, and again I thank David Szydloski for kindly sending me a copy.

There is a passage I would like to quote, if only because it tackles a problem that virtually no one is even willing to discuss, even as we see ecosystems collapse and the climate change accelerate, that of voluntary human population control:

"Yet the biggest elephant of all is a figurative one in the planet-sized room that is ever harder to ignore, although we keep trying. Worldwide, every four days human population rises by 1 million...

The intelligent solution would require the courage and the wisdom to put our knowledge to the test. It would be poignant and distressing in ways, but not fatal. It would henceforth limit every human female on Earth capable of bearing children to one.

The numbers resulting from such a draconian measure, fairly applied, are tricky to predict with precision: Fewer births, for example, would lower infant mortality, because resources would be devoted to protecting each precious member of the latest generation. Using the United Nation's medium scenario for life expectancy though 2050 as a benchmark, Dr. Sergei Scherbov, who is the research group leader at the Vienna Institute of Demography of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and an analyst for the World Population Program, calculated what would happen to human population if, from now on, all fertile women have only one child (in 2004, the rate was 2.6 births per female; in the medium scenario that would lower to about two children by 2050).

If this somehow began tomorrow, our current 6.5 billion human population would drop by 1 billion by the middle of the century. (If we continue as projected, it will reach 9 billion.) At that point, keeping to one-child-per-mother, life on Earth for all species would change dramatically. Because of natural attrition, today's bloated human population bubble would not be reinflated at anything near the former pace. By 2075, we would have reduced our presence by almost half, down to 3.43 billion, and our impact by much more., because so much of what we do is magnified by chain reactions set off through the ecosystem.

By 2100, less than a century from now, we would be at 1.6 billion: back to levels last seen in the 19th century, just before quantum advances in energy, medicine, and food production doubled our numbers and then doubled us again. At the time, those discoveries seemed like miracles. Today, like too much of any good thing, we indulge in more only at our peril.

At such far-more-manageable numbers, however, we would have the benefit of all our progress plus the wisdom to keep our presence under control. That wisdom would come partly from losses and extinctions too late to reverse, but also from the growing joy of watching the world daily become more wonderful. The evidence wouldn't hide in statistics. It would be outside every human's window, where refreshed air would fill each season with more birdsong."

Of course, I do not believe this is remotely possible. Weisman is essentially correct, in theory, but I think he vastly underestimates humanity's hardwired need to reproduce, and reproduce, and reproduce, even if reproduction, ironically, means its own present misery and premature extinction (and that of so many other species). He ignores selfishness and short-sightedness. He ignores greed. He ignores all those countless differences in religion and ideology that keep humanity divided and always at one another's throats. Ultimately, it is a solution humans are neither smart enough nor humane enough to choose. But it is a grand thought, that human beings would willingly step back from the precipice and start putting things back together again.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
There was absolutely nothing whatsoever remarkable about last night. At midnight (ET, 1 a.m. CaST), Spooky and I sat in the front parlor and listened to the snowbound silence. The city seemed all but dead. I could hear music playing in another house nearby, but that was it.

The snow is with us. There may be more today and tonight.

I had one of my rare migraines all day and night yesterday, which made me pretty much useless. I did try to get some reading done, more of Alan Weisman's The World Without Us and a paper in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology on the ankylosaurid Dyoplosaurus acutosquameus. We watched more episodes of Fringe. It was not a New Year's Eve to write home about. Or even to blog about.

I continue to be pleased with many of the answers I'm getting to that question I posed night before last: 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? If you've not yet replied, there's still lots of time. Just follow this link. Blow my mind. Or whatever.

Neil tweeted last night, to ask why I wasn't at Amanda's Boston Pops' show, and I blamed the snow. But I begin to think the agoraphobia is becoming something to be reckoned with, especially when you toss in the unpredictability of the seizures. This isn't what I had in mind when I left the South. I had in mind actually going places and seeing people again. Maybe I shall, in this new year....

Oh, I did take a few rather crappy photographs yesterday, when we went out to the market. But at least they give you an idea:

31 December 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
The Red Tree is having a particularly good week. Indeed, last night its sales ranking went as high as 3,949, which is the highest I've seen it. The numbers went up some time ago, right after Amazon.com posted that "Top 10 Books: Science Fiction & Fantasy" list back in early November, which includes The Red Tree at #2. With luck, the numbers will stay high for at least another month or so. By the way, this absolutely does not mean I'm suddenly making money off the book; it only means that the book is selling, and so some part of my debt to the publisher, incurred via my advance, is being paid off, and so the publisher is more likely to continue publishing my novels. If it kept selling like this for a year or so, I might see a royalty check.

---

No Writing yesterday. I tried. The best I managed was proofreading the galleys for the reprint of "Pickman's Other Model (1929)" in Joshi's forthcoming Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror. It's a very good story, one I'm quite proud of, and I found a small number of errors.

It's bitterly cold here in Providence, and will be more bitter tonight. What is it Amanda Palmer said in "Coin-Operated Boy"? Oh. "Bitterer." Tonight will be bitterer than today. The sun is out, at least.

Yesterday, the December '09 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology arrived. Lots of good papers in this one. I began reading "Tethyshadros insularis, a new hadrosauroid dinosaur (Ornithischia) from the Upper Cretaceous of Italy." Oh, and I had no idea that, last year, Greg Paul (a notorious taxonomic "lumper" since at least the '80s) split the taxon Iguanodon into Iguanodon, Mantellisaurus, and Dollodon. I'm extremely skeptical, and it should be noted that most of Paul's "lumping" of taxa has failed to withstand the test of time (for example, his attempt in 1988 to combine Deinonychus, Velociraptor, and Saurornitholestes into a single genus).

We read more of Greer Gilman's amazing Cloud and Ashes last night.

Oh...almost forgot. We also watched Roar Uthaug's Fritt vilt (2006, aka Cold Prey) yesterday evening. I was very, very underwhelmed. To start with, the version we could stream from Netflix was dubbed from Norwegian into English, only it sounded like the dubbing had been done in Japan. Dubbing is never a good idea (possible exception, some animated films). It mutilates a film as surely as do pan-and-scan prints. Regardless, it's not a very bright film, only a very formulaic slasher flick. Five kids trapped in an abandoned ski lodge and pursued and picked off one by one by a lumbering serial killer. Blah, blah, blah. It's a shame the director could not have done more with the setting, which manages to simultaneously inspire a sense of claustrophobia and agoraphobia. I will say that the last ten minutes or so were almost interesting, but coming, as they do, after all that dullness, they were hardly worth the wait. Sure, it was definitely an improvement over Deadline, which we watched on Tuesday night. At least the murders aren't bloodless. But I would not recommend Fritt vilt, unless maybe the Ambien's not working for you.

On the other hand, here's something both beautiful and terrible, the art of Monica Cook.

Okay. Time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Shah1)
The last two days have been a sort of...I'm not sure. Not so much a blur, as that implies they passed quickly, and they didn't. More like a smear. The past two days, I would say, are an utter smear.

I've begun a story called "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics." I wrote 1,048 words on Friday, and only 685 words yesterday. I hope to do better today, as I presently have far too much to write to write this slowly. It doesn't help that I want to get started on The Wolf Who Cried Girl, but first I have to get through at least one short story. That leads me to have fears that I may not be giving the short story my full attention, or that I may rush it, and I am determined to do neither. Also, the Audible.com contracts were signed and sent back on Friday.

We've been reading Greer Gilman's splendid Cloud and Ashes. Last night, we finished the first section and began the second. I can't recommend this book strongly enough, even though I'm nowhere near finishing it. In fact, I've hardly begun. But the language and imagery are that amazing.

---

Back to the bit about the smear of the past two days. I think most of it can be blamed on World of Warcraft. Which is what I've been doing, mostly, when not writing. Our copies of the "Wrath of the Lich King" expansion arrived very late on Friday (thanks to an anonymous benefactor), just before dark. After the 3+ hour installation, we both rolled Death Knight characters, Morskalíi (me) and Morsophelia (Spooky) based on our Draenei alts (Kalíi and Ofelija, respectively). And I have to say this first...wow. Yes, the Death Knight "starting area" is beautiful, and suddenly, after more than a year on WoW, we found ourselves caught up in a game that was not only addictive, but intriguing and well-designed. Ebon Hold, Death's Breach, the attack on the Scarlet Crusade, Havenshire, and New Avalon, the climactic battle at Light's Hope Chapel, all of it was, for the most part, splendidly handled. We played far into the night (well, morning) on Friday (actually Saturday), until after 4 a.m. Then, last night, went back in and played the last part, ending up with the trip to Stormwind to beg for acceptance into the Alliance (and get pelted with rotten bananas). So, yeah. Cool.

However, I must also say that I was extremely disappointed that the whole thing only lasted about three levels (55-57). I was just getting the feel for it, when Darion Mograine turns on the Lich King and tosses the cleansed Ashbringer to Tirion Fordring (who do they pay to come up with these awful names?). Here I've created a character, devoted to the Lich King, and the whole thing is over after about six hours of gameplay. Sure, we still have a new character class, and now there's all of Northrend to play...but that's not the same. I actually spent much of the evening last night just tracking down and slaughtering the Scarlet Crusade, as Morskalíi, because, in my mind, she'd refused the betrayal of Arthas and was still devoted to the original cause of the Death Knights.

But, for me at least, there's a much bigger problem here. When I announced on Friday evening, via Facebook, that we'd received "Wrath of the Lich King," someone commented that by Monday we'd have Level 70 Death Knights. And I thought, well, probably not, but we'll see. Now, though, after playing 55-59, I can't imagine bothering to level Morskalíi any higher. Sure, she's probably the coolest looking character I've ever made, and the spells and weaponry of the Death Knights are great. But the leveling largely involves grinding through quests I've already played, and, more importantly, I simply do not have the free time* to devote that much of my life to WoW. I can't imagine anyone does (though, obviously, millions do). I'd rather go back to Shaharrazad (who, I suppose, is my "main") to finish up in Outland, then head for Northrend with her and Suraa (Spooky's "main"). It seems to me that WoW depends far too much on players who are willing to sacrifice gigantic swaths of their lives to repetition. I'm not in a situation to do that, even if I wanted to...and I don't. So, yeah, I wish the actual Death Knight portion of the game could have gone on at least ten levels. It was grand, watching people shriek and cower and run about in terror at the very sight of you. For once (after more than a year) the battle actually felt like a battle, and the "evil" actually felt like "Evil." Sadly, the end result is nothing much more than a weird paladin/warlock hybrid alt that I haven't time to level. I would even go so far as to say the defeat felt hollow— Mograine's epiphany and all us falling into step behind him —and running off to Stormwind begging for sanctuary...bah. Though I may never play her again, Morskalíi will continue her private war against the Scarlet Crusade, the Forsaken, and humanity in general, as she seeks reunion with her true Master, the Lich King. My alts will make their own moral decisions, thank you very much.

So, no Level 70 (or 80) Draenei Death Knight for me. And Blizzard gets points for the wonderful job they did with those three levels, but I'm taking half those points back for not stretching it out a bit more and finding a more satisfactory way to divorce the Death Knights from the Lich King, if, indeed, that had to happen.

---

Okay. Enough of this nonsense. Time to work.

* As it stands, time played with Shaharrazad equals 30 days, 20 hours, 5 minutes, and 50 seconds (over the course of about 14 months). So, more than a month. For Morskalíi, I played a total of 7 hours, 43 minutes, and 45 seconds (over the course of two days). I cannot help but wonder at all the ways this chunk of my life might have been better spent.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
At some point this morning, I dreamed of finding a very small plesiosaur vertebra, no larger than a quarter. It was jet black, and I could tell that the vertebra was from a very young plesiosaur, as the articular facets of the bone were so poorly ossified. Later, I dreamed of a concrete pond filled with baby sea turtles, and I held one in my left hand.

Yesterday was mostly a reading day, a day when there seems to be little else but reading. We finished Robert Silverberg's Nightwings (1968), in preparation for this next story I have to write (I'm shelving the zombie story, "(Dead) Love Among the Ruins" until later in the month). I signed the contracts for the Audible.com editions of five of my novels (those go back in the mail to NYC today). I finished the crossword puzzle in the November '09 National Geographic, and then began the one in the October issue. For dinner, Spooky made pizza with basil and sausage and soft white lumps of fresh mozzarella cheese. Late last night, I read to Spooky from Greer Gilman's ([livejournal.com profile] nineweaving) Cloud and Ashes. Those were, I think, the best parts of yesterday.

And today, I have to write. I'm thinking I need to do a minimum of 1,200 words a day almost every day for the remainder of the month. Then I will only be behind.

Please consider pre-ordering The Ammonite Violin & Others if you have not already done so. And don't forget that the numbered edition (limited to 300 copies) comes with the chapbook "Sanderlings."

Time to make the doughnuts....
greygirlbeast: (Vulcans)
As days off go, yesterday was so-so. I did manage to spend two or three hours Outside, so that part went well. But it was windy and not at all warm, and I forgot my wool toboggan cap, so my ears hurt. The day was dazzlingly bright, even though we didn't get out until well into the afternoon. We went nowhere in particular. It was too cold to go to the sea without some serious bundling, and I was in no mood to bundle.

The sun is still with us today, but there will be rain again tomorrow. Unless there isn't.

Oh, I did send "Exuvium" to Vince yesterday morning, and as soon as his illustration is ready, I'll send Sirenia Digest #48 out to subscribers. It shouldn't be any later than Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, "Sanderlings" will be going to Bill Schafer at subpress, where it will become the chapbook to accompany the numbered edition of The Ammonite Violin & Others. I still have to put together a short afterword for that.

The coming month is going to be murder, so to speak. Sadly, only so to speak. I need to get through at least one chapter of The Next Novel. I've got to stop referring to it as Blood Oranges, as too many people are in love with the title, and I am beginning to see that it can't possibly work for this book. But, yeah...The Next Novel. The one that gets written after The Red Tree. That one. If only that was all I needed to get done this month.

Last night, we watched J.J. Abrams' Star Trek (second viewing, first on DVD), and, if anything, I'm now even more in love with the film. We also played a little WoW. I do enjoy this game, obviously, but I'm wishing terribly that I could find an MMOG that wasn't afraid to take itself seriously, one almost entirely free of irony and parody. That shit wears thin. I suspect such games exist, but finding them for the Mac is an issue. And, later still, we started reading Robert Silverberg's Nightwings (1968), which I've not read since junior high. Hearing it, I wish science fiction was as free to explore as it once was, that the pretense at "science" had not, at some point, won out over the "fiction," with all that is not deemed suitably scientific consigned to various splinters of "fantasy." It's all fantasy. All literature is fantasy. Every piece of fiction ever written is someone's fantasy, something that has never occurred and never will. Hell, a good portion of the time, actual history is fantasy.

I have a few photos from yesterday. I only allowed myself to take photographs from the moving car. Originally, I'd meant only to take them on the interstate, but that's dull as hell. Most parts of America look exactly the same when viewed from a car on an interstate. Anyway...

28 November 2009 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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