greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Sunny and cold. Same old same old.

S.T. Joshi loves The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and that makes me smile:

"The Drowning Girl features all those elements of Caitlín R. Kiernan's writing that readers have come to expect – a prose style of wondrous luminosity, an atmosphere of languorous melancholy, and an inexplicable mixture of aching beauty and clutching terror. It is a ghost story, but also a book about the writing of ghost stories. It is about falling in love, falling out of love, and wondering whether madness is a gift or a curse. It is one of those very few novels that one wishes would never end."

Yesterday, I wrote 2,593 words. Quite respectable, indeed. Especially when you take into account I was pretty wiped out from the seizure the night before and the pills. I'm sort of loving "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash," and sort of not wanting it to end.

If you haven't ordered yet, Herr Platypus reminds you that Mondays are a fine day for reserving your copy of Two Worlds and In Between. Subpress now has the full ms. and all the artwork. It's gone off to grow up into a book.

---

Lo mein and dumplings last night. Also, a great episode of Fringe, "Bloodline." Anna Torv continues to rock my socks, and she gave good Fauxlivia last night. And yes, I'm hugely relieved that the series was renewed for another season.

Extremely good rp last night. The last three or four nights have restored my faith in rp as a storytelling device, a means of creating improvisational theater that is cathartic, smart, sexy, and simply fun. I'd pretty much given up. I think I may have mentioned this in an earlier entry, that I'd been so battered by the idiocy of SL and etc. that, lately, I simply haven't been able to take joy in any sort of rp. I thought it might be a permanent state of disillusionment. But, I'm glad to say I was wrong. Thank you, B. More than ever, I believe the secret is to keep any rp small. Two or, at the most, three people. Oh, and I did have a major culling of my SL friend's list last night. I'm removing anyone who stirs even an inkling of bad association.

Later, Spooky read more of The Book Thief to me, and, eventually, there was sleep.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Cold out there. Cold and sunny. I think spring's decided to skip this year.

Here I sit, with my sour stomach and shakey hands and ringing ears, and the day ahead of me. And there's really not a lot to say about yesterday.

I spent the entire day looking for a story for Sirenia Digest #64, and I think I found something called "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash." Today I have to begin making a story from the idea, stone and mortar and what have you.

It could be an awfully prophetic title. I didn't see that yesterday.

I think I might have drawn the cover for the Crimson Alphabet chapbook yesterday.

---

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. In 1998, I wrote about the fire in The Dreaming #28, "Dreams the Burning Dream." This afternoon, Spooky and I will be ringing a bell at 4:45 p.m. EST, the exact time the first alarm bells were sounded a century ago. I'm a little disheartened that there's no official observance being held in Rhode Island, despite its history of textile mills, etc.

But it's not as if the dead hear bells the living ring. It's not as if the dead hear anything at all.

---

Huge thanks to Geoffrey who seems to have secured permission for me to quote Radiohead's "There, There (The Bony King of Nowhere)" in The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm still waiting to hear from R.E.M.'s management.*

---

Some unexpectedly good rp in SL last night. I really don't do SL anymore. And, for that matter, I think SL all but destroyed any desire I ever had to rp anywhere. You can only be fucked over so many times before you simply cease to care. Anyway, thank you Blair, because last night was awesome.

---

Thanks to all the people who donated to the the Kickstarter project yesterday. We have 12 hours to go, and the project is 207% funded. I'm amazed. I was worried we wouldn't meet our goal, much less meet it more than twice over.

Gonna go write now.

* Actually, I just did.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
(No one's going to read all this...)

Last night, I dreamt of playing the accordion.

---

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

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

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

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

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

---

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

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

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

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

---

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

Comments on #63? Bueller? Bueller?

Now...the photos:

5 February 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Just as the last of the snow was melting, it snowed again last night. Not much here in Providence, but more up north.

Yesterday, I wrote another 1,068 words on the last chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I think I'm terrified. The book is a house of cards, and I'm stacking more on top, and pulling cards out from the bottom, and somehow I have to keep the whole from toppling over. And there's to be a lot of sexual energy at the end, and it has to absolutely not become pornographic (not because I have anything against porn, but because that's not what this is meant to be).

Thanks to the awesome Richard A. Kirk, who sent me a copy of his illustrated novella, The Lost Machine. It's beautiful. You should order a copy. I say so. Also, there's a forward by Mike Mignola! In case you're unaware, I've worked with Rick on...let me see...five books, five books since 2000. Most recently, he did the amazing cover for The Ammonite Violin and Others.

Today, I think there's going to be a very small adventure, and then work, and a little work after that. I think.

---

Selwyn made Level 13 last night, and Shaharrazad is only five quests (out of 86) away from having the Blade's Edge Mountains achievement (and so one achievement nearer Loremaster). Too much gaming. And, mostly, I'm having some weird worldshock, jumping back and forth between Telara and Azeroth. The latter being bright and cartoonish and silly, the former being so rich and urgent and possessed of depth. Oh, and there was about an hour of rp with a friend in Telara last night. She's another mage, named Enthlye. We sat on the docks at Kelari Refuge and had a conversation. It was very good, and I can see Rift lending itself to good rp, once you learn the lore. Well, actually, Enthlye talked and Selwyn scribbled on the planks with a stub of charcoal. When she made the jump from the future to the past, something went wrong, and she has no tongue. I've also discovered that Selwyn prefers to work magic with a sword, instead of a staff.

And, also, I really wish that people on SL and in MMORPGs would understand that roleplaying isn't writing. It's acting. And no, it's not collaborative writing. That's what actual writers who write together do. RP is theater, improvisational theater, and if you understand this one simple fact, you can make it good and rewarding. But to call it acting is like calling the act of writing a novel acting, which it isn't, no matter how deeply I immerse myself in a character. Now, you can write stories based on or inspired by rp (I've done that), but that happens after the actual rp, and it's writing, not rping.

Honestly, it feels like there are these people who want to be writers, but either they have no talent or they won't sign off a damned game or social dohicky or whatever long enough to endure the intense solitude of writing, so they're trying to change the definition of writing to include what they're doing.*

---

I'm loving The Hunger Games more and more and more.

Okay, must take meds and finish coffee.

*Postscript (4:45 p.m.): To quote my post of January 28th, "1) Do not assume that because I express my views that I'm obligated to defend those views to you or engage in a dialogue, or even listen to your views. And I will exchange the favour."
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I have this quote from yesterday, from Aleister Crowley's autobiography (1929):

As long as sexual relations are complicated by religious, social, and financial considerations, so long will they cause all kinds of cowardly, dishonourable, and disgusting behaviour.

---

Happy 50th birthday to Neil, and I'm really sorry I couldn't make it down to New Orleans for the party to end all parties, but I'm there in spirit, as they say. My spirit will get shitfaced and roam Bourbon Street looking for trouble. At least my body won't have to feel the hangover. Today is also Holly Black's birthday, so have a good one, Holly.

---

Cold and cloudy here in Providence, just like yesterday, and the day before.

But, I did finally leave the House yesterday. So, that's only nine days indoors (my record, set this past winter, is fourteen). Yesterday, I went to the Athenaeum to read and think about the story I need to begin today. But first we went to the Bell Gallery at Brown University, to see the Pictures from the Hay exhibit, a display of books celebrating the 100th anniversary of the John Hay Library at Brown University. The exhibit is a veritable orgy for book sluts. I read Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!" written in Whitman's own hand (from 1887). I saw needlepoint from 1802, and a Brown diploma from 1769. There was an amazing accordion book by Angela Lorenz (1999)— etching, watercolor, letterpress, and mica —titled The Theater of Nature, or Curiosity Filled the Cabinet. I saw an original Arthur Rackham illustration, "Where is Peaseblossom," from Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare (1889) and thought of [livejournal.com profile] nineweaving. There was a schematic from a book on fireworks dating to 1635, detailing "How to represent St. George fighting the dragon." I saw Crimean War photos from 1855, a clay Iraqi cuneiform tablet from Uruk (now Warka) dating back to 1850-1800 BCE, and French editions of Poe from the 1920s. Paper dolls from 1811, titled The Protean Figure and Metamorphic Costumes. Andreas Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543), plates from Mark Catesby's The Bahama Islands: containing the figures of birds, beasts, fishes, serpents, insects, and plants (1729-1747). So much amazement in a single room. Does anyone seriously believe that three hundred years from now people will marvel at Kindles and the layout and typography of eBooks? Books have almost (but not quite) ceased to be objects of art in and of themselves, and merely become shoddy information and entertainment delivery devices. Their artistic and archival importance is all but lost.

It was a blustery late autumn day on Benefit Street, not too cold if you were dressed for it. Bradbury weather. We left the Athenaeum about five p.m. (CaST, = EDT + 1 hour), stopped by Eastside Market, then headed back across the river and home again.

---

We have almost everything we need to assemble the Dancy Box. This is a box that Dancy carried with her from the cabin in Shrove Wood to the sanitarium in Tallahassee, where it was confiscated. She never got it back. At least, that's how it seems right now. It'll be going up on eBay as soon as we're done, along with one of the lettered editions of the book, an edition that was not offered to the public (they were split between Bill Shafer and myself). This has gone from a lark to a pretty obsessive piece of...what? It's an artifact from a fiction, a prop from a movie that will never be made, a multi-media sculpture.

---

There's not much to say about Monday. After seven consecutive days of writing like a fiend, and the insomnia on top of that, I ended up spending much of Monday in bed. We watched the second episode of The Walking Dead (still promising) and also Daniel Alfredson's Flickan som lekte med elden (2009). Last night, we saw Paul Scheuring's The Experiment (2010), with Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker. I've been reading Richard Kaczynski's biography of Aleister Crowley. The rp in CoX has taken a turn for the very weird, with Erzsébetta's future self (become more faerie than vampire) traveling back from 258 years in the future to try to stop Something Awful, something that's her fault. Sekhmet has deemed her "...the worst thing that ever happened to the world." The rp has been especially cathartic, and it's sort of wonderful acting it out in an absurdist milieu of supervillains, because nothing's too ridiculous to ring true.

Today...I have to try again to write "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars," a story I tried to write last fall and shelved. But I want to do it. It's a story I need to do. So, we'll see.

Here are the photos from yesterday:

9 November 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cold and gloomy Outside. I've not left the apartment since October 30th. When I finish Chapter One (1) of The Drowning Girl, then I can leave the House, and bathe, and whatnot.

Yesterday, I rallied, and wrote 1,770 words on The Drowning Girl, the scene in which Imp (India Morgan Phillips) meets her girlfriend, Alexis. I suspect the chapter has only one scene remaining, which I should be able to manage today and tomorrow. Then I might allow myself one day off before I set the novel aside for three weeks. I don't want to do that— set the novel aside —but it's necessary. This is, by the way, not the novel as I originally conceived of it late last summer, when it was titled Blood Oranges. It's not exactly the novel as I reworked it back in the winter, when it was called The Wolf Who Cried Girl, though it's still close to that incarnation. This novel, it seems, has something of a sense of humor, which is something I've never done before. It also has a first-person narrator who's pretty much incapable of linear storytelling, which I'm sure is going to piss off all sorts of people. I don't care. It no longer matters. This is the book I'm writing. Too much time was wasted trying to figure out how to write a book people would want to read, when I don't even actually care what people want to read.

Sometimes, it shocks or annoys me that I'm so utterly out of touch with the world as it currently exists. Then, other times, I'm relieved. For example, I have no goddamn idea who the Kardashian sisters are, nor do I care. Not even enough to Google. It helps knowing that pop culture is only about as deep as a wading pool, and if I ever need to catch up again, all I'd have to do is spend an afternoon reading magazines that are mostly advertising.

Has anyone else noticed how most software updates have nothing to do with making things better, just different?

Last night, we watched Fringe, and I had some extra amazing rp in CoX. My rp there has very little to do with the whole superhero thing, by the way, in part because I'm pretty much forgoing actual gameplay. I just wish that I could have found CoX three years ago, and not wasted so much time and energy trying to wring good rp out of the moronic cesspool that is Second Life. Later, we read more Kelly Link, "The Cinderella Game," "Surfer," and "The Wrong Grave." The last of those three was especially wonderful, one of my favorites so far. And that was yesterday.

There are still a couple of ongoing eBay auctions. Please have a look.

That seems to be everything for now.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Overcast and dreary here in Providence.

Another very good writing day yesterday. I did 1,670 words on The Drowning Girl. Keeping this book's voice on course is a matter of always having to remind myself that I'm writing a book by a schizophrenic, not a book about a schizophrenic. At any rate, the Word Bank grows.

Nothing spectacular about yesterday. It was just a decent day, and those are always welcome. We lit the fireplace for the first time this year. There was a problem with the oven not lightning, but the repair guy came and fixed it. Spooky made corn muffins to go with the second night of chicken and andouille stew. Lately, I love days strewn with mundane events.

---

Before anyone else gets this wrong, I need to clarify the matter about Rhode Island electing its first independent governor. Lincoln D. Chafee is not a Libertarian, sensu the Libertarian Party. He is a civil libertarian, but that's another thing altogether. I would imagine he's many of the things Libertarians hate. For instance, he opposes eliminating the federal estate tax and, on November 17, 2005, was the only Republican to vote in favor of reinstating the top federal income tax rate of 39.6% on upper-income payers. Moreover, I am not a Libertarian. Moreover, I detest the Libertarian Party and have since college. Were I to categorize myself politically, I'd probably say I'm a far-left leaning Democrat. So, hope we're all clear on that now.

---

I've been playing lots of City of Heroes and Villains lately. Too much really, which is what happens when I'm having too much fun. I'm not so much crazy about the game part of the game, which I find clunky and unnecessarily tedious. What I love is the huge pool of actual roleplayers who know how to, you know, roleplay. But there is one thing that's begun to wear on me, and it came up again last night, for about the umpteenth time (LJ can spell "umpteenth," but not "LJ"?). When I created my character, I wrote some very particular Lovecraftian stuff into her background. What I did not realize was how much CoX players rely on the "Call of Cthlhu" rpg for their understanding of Lovecraft, rather than relying on Lovecraft's actual writing.

The problem with this is that the rpg is drawn from the "Mythos" invented by August Derleth, and not from HPL. Yes, Derleth likely saved Lovecraft from oblivion, but in the process he managed to mangle the basic Cosmicism if HPL's work. I'm not going into all the whys and wherefores right now, though I'm thinking of devoting a post to it later on. I would refer people to Richard L. Tierney's essay, "The Derleth Mythos," only it's pretty much impossible to find****. I'd refer people to S.T. Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos, only few people are going to take the time to read what is, essentially, an entire book on the problem of what Lovecraft actually wrote vs. how Derleth rewrote Lovecraft, and how it's the revisionist stuff that has embedded itself so deeply in pop culture (including the "Call of Cthulhu" rpg).

But no, you cannot ward off Nyarlathotep with an elder sign, any more than you can fend off a cometary impact with a Hostess Twinkie. No, elder signs are not like Raid to the Old Ones. No, the Lovecraft Mythos (as opposed to Derleth's "Cthulhu Mythos") is not a battle between "good" and "evil," which is, to quote Derleth, "basically similar" to the Christian Mythos. No, the "Elder Gods" (mostly invented by Derleth and successors) are not powers of "good" at war with the "evil" Great Old Ones. And so on, and so forth.

Mostly, it's becoming clear to me (and Joshi points this out in the aforementioned book) that many who utilize various elements from Lovecraft's writing have never actually read Lovecraft. They've come by his "gods" and various entities and elements and fictional texts secondhand, via such wrongheaded sources as "The Call of Cthulhu" rpg or writers who followed Derleth (such as, ugh, Brian Lumley). Now, I can be very naive, I admit, and this comes as a shock to me. And I will not rp pseudo-Lovecraft. It squicks me out. But I love CoX, and pseudo-Lovecraft is everywhere...so...I don't know. Maybe I'll just drop all the HPL elements from Erzsébetta's backstory and steer clear of the silly stuff.

I don't want to be off-putting to other players, almost all of whom I've enjoyed rping with, but also can't, in good conscience, as a writer, Lovecraft devotee and HPL scholar, take part in the propagation of the bastardized ideas I've spent so much energy trying to dispel.

I imagine maybe five people who read this blog will give a give a rat's ass about all this. I just had to vent.

---

Anyhow, donuts and all...

**** My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] jreynolds for pointing out that Tierney's essay is, in fact, online, so it's not hard to find, and you may read it if you so desire.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
In a somewhat dark place this morning. It's cloudy and cold and windy, the Outside reflecting my internal weather, or, to be more precise (and less egocentric), my mood reflecting the dismal weather Outside my office window.

Yesterday was one of the frustrating sorts of writing days. I spent over an hour searching for a title. I read through T. S. Eliot's "Four Quartets" for about the hundred billionth time. I found a very appropriate epigraph in an Oscar Wilde essay, and then I realized the vignette's title was "At the Reef." I read long passages of Joseph Campbell, Jung, and a book on Byron and Romanticism. It was after four p.m. before I finally started writing, and I got only 502 words done. Today, I have to hope I wrote well yesterday. My plan had been to finish this piece today (yes, two vignettes in four days), but now I see it's time to revise the plan. I'll push forward with "On the Reef" today, finish a long interview tomorrow, then finish "On the Reef" on Saturday, which will take care of most of Sirenia Digest #59. Maybe take Sunday off. Then, next week, try to get back to The Drowning Girl, as the novel has sat neglected since August (and even with the second deadline extension, it's expected in March). But November will be spent on a short story and the contents of Sirenia Digest #59.

The truth is, if I had about a hundred more subscribers to Sirenia Digest, and believed that the subscriber base was reasonably stable, I'd stop trying to write novels. I'd write my vignettes and short stories and maybe the occasional novella, and that would be just fine.

---

For a sobering look at what's being done to the planet, have a look at the NASA/JPL/Cal Tech Climate Time Machine. Just don't tell the teabaggers. They're pretty sure all this talk of global warming is really a communist/Islamic plot to deprive them of Wal-Mart and the NFL.

---

I've grown very accustomed, thanks to the Lamictal...a wondrous, merciful drug I wished I'd had twenty years ago...to not having to cope with Angry Caitlín. But, even now there are rare days, like today, when she finds her way out into the world.

---

Thanks to everyone who's voted in the podcast poll (if you haven't, please do). Speaking to those who have expressed concerns that, were I to do this, I would only be adding one more thing to a plate that is far too full, that it would give me yet another deadline to worry over, here's my reply. No, it won't. For one, as it's free, I'd plan it once a month, but if I miss a month, whatever. No big deal. For another, my end of the thing would consist of me sitting at my desk reading a vignette or short story into the tiny little microphone (DO NOT DARE SAY "MIC" WHEN YOU MEAN "MIKE," thank you), and then emailing it to the person who would a) turn the sound file into something that could be downloaded and b) post it to be downloaded. So, each reading would require about an hour of my time. As for copyright issues, the audio files would be released under Creative Commons, though I would reserve all other rights on the stories. So, that's not an issue, either.

The only real concern is the one I've already stated, my own dislike of my voice. And that's something only I can overcome (or not).

---

Too much time has been going to MMORPGs lately. But...how is that any worse than watching television or hanging out in bars or playing endless rounds of Scrabble? True, I ought to be spending all that time reading. I know that. But, at the end of the day, I'm usually too tired from writing to read.

Anyway, still having a lot of fun with WoW, and eagerly awaiting the Cataclysm expansion. But most of my gaming time the last couple of weeks has gone into City of Heroes and Villains. It's kind of funny, because I've never cared for superhero comics. Last night, though, I pretty much resolved to stop playing CoX as a game, and just go to it for rp. The game's engine is just too clunky and the game architecture too cryptic and tedious. Plus, my 2007 iMac's not quite up to Cox and I get serious latency issues. Load screens take for fucking ever. And I've never played a game with so many load screens. Add to this the impossibility of soloing (i.e., enforced socialization), and also my being blind in one eye, which makes it pretty much impossible for me to track the insane rate of combat in the missions, and I'd just rather stick with WoW as for as actual gaming goes. I've leveled my villain to 25, but can't seem to find any interest in leveling her farther. So, I'll rp in CoX, which is really what I need from it anyway, because I can't get good rp anywhere else (though, I very much look forward to the release of CCP Games' World of Darkness MMORPG, which has the potential to be exactly what I've been looking for since, well, forever).

Meanwhile, Kathryn's been playing a lot of Middle Earth Online. While I still think the avatars look like action figures circa 1976, she's enjoying it a great deal. And, I will admit, the environments are pretty amazing (just don't get me started on the horses). I geeked out over seeing the Party Tree in Hobbiton. From what I can see, Middle Earth Online takes it's basic design from WoW, but I am disposed to look upon it a bit more kindly now, if only because Spooky's enjoying it so much.

And the Platypus is cutting me off....
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
The insomnia hit me hard last night. I didn't get to sleep until after five a.m., and then only with the help of Ambien, that nasty fucking shit. I had this plan, you see, heading into this long trip and the HPLFF. But...on the subject of plans:

I think a plan is just a list of things that don't happen. (Parker, The Way of the Gun)

What you plan and what takes place ain't ever exactly been similar. (Jayne Cobb, Serenity)

So, I'm left wondering if the airline's going to consider these bags under the bags under my eyes as carry-on luggage. Because, as Thom Yorke reminds us, "...gravity always wins." And anyway, when the fuck did airlines start charging for any and all checked bags? At twenty-five bucks a pop. Granted, I haven't flown since 2004, but this is ridiculous.

---

All of yesterday was spent on the layout for Sirenia Digest #58, and in writing it's prolegomenon, which ended up being 737 words long. I think it turned into a sort of rough draft for the keynote speech I'm supposed to give the first night of the HPLFF. How I found Lovecraft abandoned on a school bus in 1981.

---

How is it that so many (note, I did not fucking say all) Xtians are so goddamn opposed to charity? I mean, isn't that like a scientist being opposed to observation and experimentation, or a Mormon being opposed to bicycles? Or a Scientologist being opposed to lousy science fiction movies starring John Travolta? Oh, okay. The teabaggers would say, we're not opposed to charity. We're opposed to enforced charity, compulsory charity. Which means, we're opposed to our tax dollars going to help people of color, and poor people, and people who aren't Xtians, and researchers who've proven that high-fructose corn syrup increases the rate of obesity and diabetes, and also no tax dollars to bums and junkies (liberals call them "homeless people"), or evolutionists, or environmentalists, or people without health insurance (because they're irresponsible), or people what don't think like we do. But...hey, it's totally okay if our money goes to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and wherever else America wants to fuck up the rectum with a broken bottle, to getting all those American soldiers killed in the name of Coca-Cola, and getting all those Iraqi and Afghan soldiers killed in the name of Big Oil, and all those Iraqi and Afghan and Pakistani civilians killed in the name of Spongebob Sqaurepants. Yeah, that's okay. Because Jesus, we know he had a hard on for war. And he hated poor people who weren't responsible enough not to be poor. And he also hated brown people, even though he was one.

You fucking people make me sick. No, not you. You.

---

It occurs to me that I should post my itinerary for the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival, just in case anyone wants to show up to marvel at the Woman Who Cannot Sleep. But first I have to download it and read it. Hold on.

Well, that took ten minutes, and oh look, it's a spreadsheet. I suppose that's appropriate, spreadsheets being all about forbidden knowledge and wrong geometry and driving people insane. Anyway, it's something like this:

October 1st, Friday 3:30 p.m. Dark Horse reception for Lovecraft Unbound (Hollywood Wine & Espresso; across from where the festival takes place)
Friday night (main screening room): festival opening ceremony, keynote address.

October 2nd: 1:30-2:30 p.m. "Riffing on Lovecraft" (no idea what that means)
2:30-3:30 p.m. "The Cosmic Horror Movement"
4:30-5:30 p.m. "Brief Readings from Lovecraft Unbound"

October 3rd: 1:30-2:30 p.m. My reading.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, please, so I can buy more sleeping pills, please.

---

Four hours or so of astounding roleplay in Insilico last night. Just Grendel and Molly. Four hours of emotionally grueling rp. In which Grendel's pregnant human body finally gave up the ghost, and Molly removed her AI and put it back into the Xiang Prime shell (returned to them by Fifth a couple of nights ago). And then really bad stuff happened.* I don't know whether or not we've gone as far into the middle of this sf story as we'll be able to go. I'm just glad to have had the bumpy ride this far. This is what roleplay was meant to be. Catharsis. Gut-wrenching, mind-bending, self-searching catharsis. I couldn't care less for ideas of SL community and "rp events" and suchlike. I'm there for these beautiful, horrible little stories, that are only little if you're on the Outside looking in.

Gotta go now.

* This develop was almost immediately redacted, and the scene described above was treated as a dream sequence.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Here we go with the higgledy-piggledy again. It's a coolish day here in Providence, but sunny. After the anticlimax of Hurricane Earl, summer collapsed like a leaky balloon. Now it's sweater weather again.

I love that William Gibson tweeted "Johnette Napolitano is my Anne Rice. Seriously. Wonderful writer."

Yesterday, I finished writing my story for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, though it still doesn't have a title. Which, I suppose, means that, technically, it's still not finished. I wrote 1,171 words yesterday. This story has been tedious to write, but I like the end result. It has required the constant consulting of texts, on subjects as diverse as pop culture, bog mummies, Arabian mythology, Irish and French geography, owls, early 20th-Century occultism, X-ray microtomography, the chemical composition of claw sheaths, weird fiction in the 1980s, rogue taxidermy, social constructionism, and Parisian ossuaries.

My new passport came yesterday, so no more worries about photo ID. This new passport is oddly high tech. I know it's being used to track me by satellite. It won't have to be renewed again until I'm fifty-six, and I imagine by then the world will hardly be recognizable.

---

Still reading Kristin Hersh's memoir, Rat Girl. There's a bit I want to quote. She's writing about writing music, but it applies (for me) equally to writing prose:

Music's making me do things, live stories so I can write them into songs. It pushes my brain and my days around. A parasite that kills its host, it doesn't give a shit about what happens to a little rat girl as long as it gets some song bodies out of it. It's a hungry ghost, desperate for physicality.

I'm not writing songs anymore; they're writing
me.

♋ close your eyes

i'm sliding really fast
my hands are full of snow

i don't understand
i don't understand puzzles

And every time a song is done, you can go now...you aren't needed anymore.
-- Kristin Hersh

I like to lie about writing being like this for me. I've often declared that writing fiction is, for me, nothing like this.

---

Still reading Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age. And I'm also still thinking about the problem posed by A is for Alien, how it didn't do as well as all my other subpress books (i.e., it hasn't sold out). And between the reading and the pondering, something has occurred to me, and maybe it should have occurred to me before. Stephenson's book is, undoubtedly, marvelous. The worldbuilding is first rate, from the tech to the sociology (even though I think he's slightly too optimistic). And he truly has written a post-cyberpunk pastiche of a Charles Dickens novel. But, I find the book oddly lacking in emotional content and depth. The characters aren't precisely flat. But there's very little insight into how they feel about the world about them or about each other or about themselves. At times, they seem to exist in order to show us the book's technology and history and so forth. They're almost no more than plot and setting delivery devices. I feel like they're all living out a tragedy they're never allowed to recognize as such.

I have often heard it said that science fiction is the literature of ideas. Fair enough. But I don't think it ought to be the literature of ideas to the exclusion of exploring pathos, delight, fear, and so forth. And it certainly didn't used to be. But I haven't read much sf after the cyberpunks of the '80s. So maybe things have changed. Or maybe I'm placing too much weight on a single data point (though that matter of "mundane sf" rears its head). Anyway, my sf is primarily concerned with human emotion, with the characters, and only secondarily concerned with science and technology. Often, the science it is most concerned with is psychology, and I'm just wondering if that's part of what I'm trying to make sense of here. I recognize I may be barking up the wrong tree; but I need to check all of them, all these trees.

---

Good rp in Insilico last night. And an interesting ooc conversation right before I logged of SL, a conversation with Blair (the person I'm mostly rping with these days) about living vicariously through our roleplay characters. We both acknowledge that's what we're doing. Me, I'm exploring various issues of identity by having an android pass through various incarnations, becoming progressively human. Anyway, it's mostly interesting because I've known a lot of people who are very resistant to the idea that rp involves this sort of therapeutic vicariousness. But I think it's where the true value of rp lies, in allowing us to explore secret parts of ourselves. Now, admittedly, it can also allow us to view the world through alien eyes, through minds not our own, and try to become people we aren't. But the best we can ever manage in those situations it to try, because all our characters will always only be splinters of us.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Well, at least I slept. Something like eight hours. Oh, and there was a short nap yesterday, while Spooky made dinner.

The weather's turned cooler. Highs in the low 70sF. Lows in the mid 50sF. I do not think I have ever before in all my life been this eager for autumn. The summer was that bad.

Yesterday, I wrote a somewhat measly 573 words, though several hours were required to write them. My piece for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, it's one of those things I've been looking at for months, and thinking, Oh, that will be easy and fun. I can save it for the last minute and it'll still be a breeze. And by now I ought know better. Those are the pieces that always decide they're going to be hard, instead.

There was research on numerous peculiar and varied subjects yesterday: bog mummies, Castleblakeney (Ireland), skeleton keys, both New and Old World monkeys, and the Iron Age in Northern Europe.

I accidentally wrote millimeters every time I meant to write centimeters.

It was just that sort of a day.

After dinner, there was WoW (Spooky and I are trying to get the "Loremaster of Kalimdor" achievement, which mostly means going back and doing all the tedious fucking goblin quests we skipped the first time, to gain a total of 685 quests completed in Kalimdor). I also did some Insilico. We read more of Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl.

And now I go forth to grope the fetlocks of a new day.
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.
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Um...yeah. Yesterday is an absolute and utter blur. And it probably would be even if I hadn't slept like ass last night. I have no idea why I slept like ass. I actually got to sleep about 3:30 a.m., and slept for an hour. Then I woke and was awake until sometime after five, when I finally got back to sleep. But from there on, sleep was a fitful fever dream. The dreams were like fireworks going off behind my eyes (a purple analogy, but apt). And now I feel, well, the opposite of good, the opposite of rested.

As for yesterday, that brings me back to the absolute and utter blur. It began with me writing a short piece on H.P. Lovecraft for a Suvudu article by Matt Staggs, and then there was the blog entry, and then I had to get my bio and photo off to the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, which I should have done days and days ago. For them what missed the news earlier, I will be Guest of Honor at this year's HPLFF and CthulhuCon in Portland Oregon (October 1-3). Anyway, then I had to answer email, and after that, about two p.m., I got back to work on "The Yellow Alphabet" for Sirenia Digest 57. I wrote 1,184 words, and did Q-S (S is for Shibari was especially challenging). And after that I had to finish proofing the galley pages of "The Bone's Prayer," which is being reprinted in The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror (edited by Paula Guran). And...then I stopped for the day.

After a power nap, and dinner (leftover chili), and a bath, I went back to Insilico, and began what would prove to be about six straight hours of roleplay. In which...crazy cyberpunk shit happened. Lots of crazy cyberpunk shit. I'm at one of those zenith points in rp. They happen every now and then. The world of the sim begins to feel more real than the real world. The face of the avatar becomes more substantial and immediate than my own face. It ought to be disturbing, I suppose, but it isn't. Oh, and after rp, another episode from Season 4 of Dexter.

And that was yesterday. Oh, and the auctions ended, and Study 1 for Yellow went for a truly respectable sum. My thanks to everyone who bid; this round helped greatly with the unexpected vet bills and such. Spooky will be getting another round of auctions started very soon.

There's a long entry about my science fiction, and why it's not as popular as my dark fantasy, but I don't have the time or the energy for it just now. Later. Now, I do T-V.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Two nights (well, mornings) in a row now, I've slept more than eight hours. Amazing.

Yesterday was, in large part, given over to email and other bits of business related to the "Best of" volume. I think that tomorrow I will most likely be posting a table of contents. There are only a couple of details left to be ironed out. Regarding the art section in the lettered and/or numbered state, I'm very pleased to report that both Richard Kirk and Vince Locke are on board. I still have several other artists to speak with, but Rick and Vince are the heart of that part of the book.

I did get some writing done yesterday. I wrote a new poem, "Atlantis," which will go out to those people who so kindly donated to help me get Spooky's birthday present this year. Each will get the poem, on a good paper stock, numbered and signed. I sent the poem to [livejournal.com profile] sovay and [livejournal.com profile] nineweaving, and their reactions were heartening. It's good to write something that I can see is good. That might sound odd, but it doesn't happen as often as you might think.

Plans have been finalized for my appearance at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon this year (October 1-3) in Portland, Oregon. I may also arrange an offsite book signing. So, if you're one of the many Portland people who've been asking me to make an appearance in that area, you got your wish, and I hope to see you.

---

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] wolven posted this about "Sanderlings," and I want to repost it:

Thank you for this story; it keeps unfolding, in my mind. Particularly The Boy on the beach. Watching the transition, watching The End, Clara's only interaction with the "Outside World;" and, throughout their interaction, after the light in the room, I kept hearing the line "whatever it is that Sanderlings eat." The colour, the Life leeching simultaneously into and out of Mary.

But always the boy. Always his civil, pitying response. The Recording "Angel" holding vigil over all that Clara has lost the ability to appreciate, in her choosing to not see the terrible things. This vigil feels like... an inventory, or a survey, or an engaging and deep meaningful rumination on that which will soon be passed on to him. There's no malice, there. Just an inevitability and a weight.

As the only perspective external to the house, it is... arresting.


Oh, and I came across this thoughtful, articulate, respectful, and utterly wrongheaded review of The Red Tree.

---

Last night, we watched the last two episodes of Season Three of Nip/Tuck. It was a good finalé, but not nearly as powerful as the end of Season Two, which was one of the best hours of television I've ever seen.

I also got in some very excellent rp in Insilico. After failing an empathy test, Xiang 1.5 has managed to elude capture by IPS officers by signing on with a salvage ship called Beowulf. IPS jurisdiction doesn't extend to ships in orbit. The captain obtained, through highly questionable means, a new shell for Xiang, a chassis that's mostly organic, all blood and bone and muscle, and her positronic matrix was transplanted. The process was successful. Her ident chip was replaced and her AI completely shielded. She can finally pass for human. She's signed on as security with the Beowulf, assuming the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer and a new name, Grendel Ishmene (her choice, not mine). Her new body was designed for military use, primarily offworld black-ops wetwork, so...wow...I am going on about this. Sorry. On those rare occasions when rp in SL works, it's wonderful.

The platypus is glaring at me with his beady black monotreme eyes. I dare not disobey.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
It would seem I shut Sméagol in my office at about four-thirty a.m.. The insomnia's come back, and I was up alone, playing WoW, and apparently he crept quietly into the office without me noticing. But he's fine, and the office is fine, so no harm done. No apparent kitty trauma.

Very hot here in Providence again, and I think I'm going to get just a little work done, and then we'll head south to the shore. I've not left the House since last Monday (a full week inside), and my ankle's much better, so...yeah. Time to go Outside.

Most of yesterday was spent working on the table of contents for the "Best of" volume. I read over several stories. "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent" didn't make the cut, but "Stoker's Mistress" did (though I'm removing all evidence it was originally written for a "Vampire: The Masquerade" anthology). I decided I'm only including one story from the Dandridge Cycle, so I cut "Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea (1957)" and "A Redress for Andromeda." I'll be using "Andromeda Among the Stones," the best (and longest) of the three tales. But I got hung up on whether to use "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun (Murder Ballad No. 1)" or "Lafayette (Murder Ballad No. 2)." And "The Road of Pins" or "Spindleshanks (New Orleans, 1956)." Hence, last evening's poll. The results are interesting, and will definitely be factored into my final decision. If you have an opinion and have not yet voted, please do. I am having some weird trouble determining precisely when some of the earlier stories were written, those from the nineties, before I began dating the hell out of everything, but we'll sort that out. With any luck, I'll be able to post a preliminary ToC sometime in the next couple of days.

It's strange. This feels like I'm editing an anthology, not compiling a collection of my own work.

Last night, after egg salad for dinner, we watched three or four more episodes from Season Three of Nip/Tuck. It's kind of fascinating how pretty much everyone in the show but Christian has turned into a total douchebag. I spent a sizable chunk of the evening on rp in Insilico. It was good rp, not like that mealy stuff you get at Wal-Mart for $4.99 (plus tax). It's weird to be so immersed in that world again, but, for now, it's a good weird. And that was yesterday.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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