greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
This morning might almost be mistaken for June. Sunny. Warm, if you ignore the breeze. 74F.

Speaking as someone who has (and continues) to cope with addiction, I remain forever...how shall I say this nicely? I remain forever at odds with NA and AA. I've seen so many sane, decent, rational, likeable drunks and addicts turned into unbearable, self-righteous zombies obsessed with abandoning personal responsibility and shifting it to their so-called Higher fucking Powers. Once upon a time, back in the late 1980s, I had a therapist in Birmingham. I can't even recall her name. But she tried to get me on the twelve-step bandwagon. There was a day she grew (no shit) absolutely livid because I refused to "surrender" to any "Higher Power." She accused me of "not even trying" and threatened to stop seeing me. "Can't you at last pretend?!" Hell, let us here note the success rates of these programs are crap. And here's the thing, it's not that I don't recognize that the universe is filled to overflowing with that which is more powerful than the one little organism of me. I do recognize that. Humpback whales. Hurricanes. Volcanoes. Plate tectonics. The sun. Whatever. I'm just one little bug. But I refuse to make up – or buy into other people's made up – sentient "Higher Powers." Trading one drug for another, in effect, one dependency for another. Though, in retrospect, maybe I should have claimed my Higher Power was a female Black Lectroid leader named John Emdall (from Planet 10, natch). Sorry. Rant ends here.

---

Workwise, yesterday was a bit of a nightmare. As I was about to begin the next section of Chapter Four, I realized there was a huge continuity error, and that its roots lay far back in a conversation I'd written in Chapter Two. I refused to rewrite the conversation, and sat here until I found a way to progress, resolve the continuity problem, and keep the conversation. All that led to a somewhat lowered word count, "only" 1,034 words.

There's something about Blood Oranges that I hope people will understand. This book is "just for fun." Spooky calls it a "popcorn book." Which is fairly accurate. It is in no way meant to be received the way I hope people have received The Red Tree and will receive The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. This one's just for shits and giggles.

Anyway...

I've felt so lousy the last few days (much better this ayem), we splurged last night and went to the 6:30 screening of Terrence Malick's Tree of Life at the Avon on Thayer Street (I half made up for it by have PB&J for dinner). Malick is in the tiny handful of directors who can, in my opinion, pretty much do no wrong. I'd love to write a review expounding just how amazing and beautiful and brilliant Tree of Life is, but, as I've said many times, I have no talent for reviews. But...you have to see this if you can. A film that manages to place the everyday life of a Waco, Texas family in the 1950s within a universal context, within the context of deep time. From the formation of the galaxy to the prebiotic earth to a Cretaceous forest...to the emptiness of an architect's life decades after his brothers death...to the nova of our star and, then, earth as a burnt out cinder. Brad Pitt and Sean Penn are both perfect. Indeed, this is about as close to perfect as film ever comes. There's not much I can think of that's comparable to Tree of Life, except Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Only Tree of Life is a better film. No film has impressed me this much since Synecdoche, New York (2008). Tree of Life goes on my "Top 50 Films Ever" list. Not sure what gets bumped off.

---

Later, back home, I played Rift. A lot of Rift, while Spooky played the new American Mcgee Alice game (which is gorgeous). My thanks to Tracy T. for a combination of superb rp and helping me survive two enormous fire-rift events in the Droughtlands. Ah, Maelforge, chaos incarnate, dragon ruler of the Plane of Fire, you are a right bastard.

Then Spooky and I finished reading Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants (this month's selection in Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club - hint, hint). A marvelous novel, though I actually think the film may be ever so slightly better. That actually does happen from time to time, the creation of a film that bests its source material. Oh, our mathematician's dice came yesterday! And I read "Cranial osteology of a juvenile specimen of Tarbosaurus bataar (Theropoda, Tyrannosauridae) from the Nemegt Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Bugin Tsav, Mongolia" from the January JVP.

Oh, and I think I've decided that Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be dedicated to Henry Darger.

Also, all of Round 2 of the Big Damn eBay Auction has ended except this.

Okay. Must write now, and must not wish (too hard) that I were at the sea.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
I need to try to make this short.

Here in Providence, summer is still February again.

Blood Oranges progresses at an impressive clip. On Sunday, I wrote 2,443 words, and yesterday, I did 2,188 words and finished Chapter 3. I've cleared with my agent that this novel will be, at most, 75,000 words (my novels are usually more that 100k). And, by the way, this isn't YA. At least, not necessarily. I think some people are confusing Blood Oranges with Blue Canary, which will be YA. It is very difficult to explain to people what it is, this book, Blood Oranges. It's sort of to dark fantasy/urban fantasy what The Fifth Element is to science-fiction films. Which means, among other things, you'll either get it or you won't. You love it or you'll hate it. It's also a loud "fuck you" to the "romantic urban fantasy" or ParaRom or what the fuck ever you might call it or have heard that crap called. Blood Oranges is me, taking back the night. Or to paraphrase Ursula K. LeGuin, this is me taking back the language of the night.

We saw a rather excellent thriller last night, a French film, Antoine Blossier's Proie (Prey, 2010). I suppose it could be classed as a "creature feature," an eco-thriller, or something like that. But I'd say, take the parable of Cain and Abel, add a herd of boars driven wild by toxic discharge from a factory, and put four angry men in a forest at night. With guns. That's what the film is, and it goes surprising and unexpected places. I was especially pleased with the ending.

---

I'm going to repost this, because people may not have seen my post last night, and the whole Publisher's Weekly thing is still making me smile (By the way, I NEED A COPY OF THIS ISSUE OF THE MAGAZINE, as nowhere in Rhode Island carries it. IF YOU CAN LAY YOUR HANDS ON A COPY AND SEND IT MY WAY, I WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER):

The Publisher's Weekly review of Two Worlds and in Between has come in. Not only is it starred, it was chosen as the "Pick of the Week," out of all books reviewed this week. PW has never before been so kind to me (and no, this is not the NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL I received last week. Anyway, here's the review:

Two Worlds and in Between: The Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan, Vol. 1
Caitlin R. Kiernan. Subterranean (www.subterraneanpress.com), $38 (576p) ISBN 978-1-59606-391-4

"I wasn't always a storyteller," Kiernan (The Red Tree) claims in her introduction, but you wouldn't know it by the tremendous talent displayed in these 26 stories of life, death, undeath, horror, sorrow, and a peculiar sort of beauty. This retrospective volume, the first of two, contains works published between 1993 and 2004 that show Kiernan's rapid ascent from a journeyman writer bringing a fresh perspective to classic horror themes ("Emptiness Spoke Eloquent," a Dracula "sequel," and the title tale, an exercise in punk nihilism with zombies) to one of the most innovative and imaginative stylists in contemporary dark fantasy. Particularly noteworthy are two award-winning stories: "La Peau Verte," an otherworldly absinthe fantasy, and the horror tour de force "Onion," about a couple haunted by encounters with the supernatural that represent both the most horrifying and the most transcendent moments of their depressingly common lives. All of the selections are distinguished by Kiernan's poetic prose, which conjures a rich, enveloping atmosphere of dread and imparts a surreality to the narratives that supports their weird events. Every story in the book deserves its "best" designation. (Oct.)

So. Yeah. Wow.

Also, the 600-copy limited edition of of the collection is now completely sold out at the publisher. However, the trade edition can still be ordered directly from Subterranean Press.

---

Links to three more Rift screencaps, Selwyn in Iron Pine:

Selwyn and Jude at the frozen Tarn, southwest of the Chancel of Labors.

By moonlight, the high pass at Mage's Mark.

Before the gates of Stillmoor
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cloudy, cold. Green. Green Spring, but not spring. Not spring sensu familiari. Sonya, please correct my Latin if it's too atrocious. Or my English, for that matter. I'm only a poor juggler of words. I squeeze them, and various sounds are released: melodious, hideous, alluring, repulsive, alarming, discordant, anti-harmonic, mucosal, beatific, soothing, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, and so forth, and on and on and on. Meow.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,392 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges and found the chapter's end. Which should not be mistaken for THE END. Today, Kathryn and I will read back over the whole of it, I'll do a quick polish, then send it to my agent. That's a complete chapter in a mere six days. 9,546 words. Immediately after finishing "The Carnival is Dead and Gone" and getting Sirenia Digest #65 out to subscribers, which I did immediately after finishing "Fake Plastic Trees," which I wrote immediately after the story for Dark Horse, which happened almost right after getting Sirenia Digest #64 out, which came on the heels of the Great Four-Day Editing Marathon of 2011 (involving both The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Two Worlds and In Between), which happened almost as soon as I'd finished writing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Which takes me back to...Monday, March 7th. Yes, after today, I think that I should take a few days off. Of course, I'll likely spend them cleaning, because when all I do is work – and Spooky, too – the place becomes all shamblefied. Well, it ought to be a word.

The "Question @ Hand" poll is now closed. There were 39 "yes" votes (88.6%), and only 5 (11.4%) "no" votes. So, I suppose I'll give it another shot. This is a very small sampling of the subscribers, and the results are in no way "scientific." But, there you go. I'll probably pose the next Question @ Hand in July, I'm thinking. Beforehand, I may ask for suggestions.

Yesterday, I read one article from the January JVP – "Three-dimensional pelvis and limb anatomy of the Cenomanian hind-limbed snake Epodophis descouensi (Squamata, Ophidia) revealed by synchrotron-radiation computed laminography."

The cat from downstairs came calling, unexpectedly, last night. Hubero is only just recovering.

Last night, we watched Pieter Van Hees' Linkeroever (Left Bank, 2008). It's a film that had tremendous potential. It has moments – entire scenes – that rank up there with, say, Låt den rätte komma in or Sauna. And, as someone mentioned, there's some undeniable overlap with The Red Tree. Ultimately, though, it falls apart, largely in the last few minutes. I can forgive the paganophobic crutch, the one that was so commonly employed during in the 1970s (think The Wicker Man or Harvest Home), but the Linkeroever's last scene – the childbirth scene – makes literal what should have remain implied. All mystery is destroyed. Explanation undoes the inexplicable. Truthfully, if the film had chosen to eschew the scary pagans trope, and if we'd only been left with the problem of an apartment building with a secret history and a Very Bad Place for a cellar, the film might have been brilliant. There was some remarkably disturbing imagery, some of it subtle, some of it not so subtle, but all of it struggling against the rather silly nonsense about the archery lodge and ancient Celtic blood sacrifices, and then all of it shot in the head by that ridiculous final scene. I do recommend you watch this film, but I also recommend you switch off the DVD as Marie is struggling to escape the cavern, as she screams and the light seems to be taking her apart. Stop it. Right there.

And we did some rp in Rift, a scene with four players, which is proving that patience and skill can spin good roleplay from the game. So, that was nice. Oh, and now there's a FREE trial (which Trion should have had from the start).

CASSIE: Hey. Good dream? Let me guess. The surface of the sun. Only dream I ever have. Every time I close my eyes, it's always the same.

Off to do the word thing.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Raining now. Raining and likely fifty-something out there. I don't feel like checking the actual, factual temperature. Spring – real Spring – is coming on very slowly, but very certainly. All the little specifics don't matter. Only what they add up to, that's what matters.

Don't mind me. I'm just a crazy lazy sitting in a chair.

Today seems to be looking at me the way an Irish wolfhound eyes a dog biscuit, so comments wouldn't be unappreciated.

Two days here to recount:

1) Thursday: I wrote 1,584 words on "Fake Plastic Trees." We tended to the new piercings, which are doing well. I didn't leave the house, though the possibility was briefly discussed. I was groggy from the new meds. I almost engaged in rp, but didn't because of the aforementioned wooziness. I played a little Rift, but sucked, thanks to the wooziness in question. During the day, much email. We may have chosen the author's photo for Two Worlds and In Between. Not one I expected we'd choose. But it's not yet final. I sent the "final" version of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir to my editor at Penguin, and she says the release date is still March 2012. Which surprises me, as I've been so late delivering the thing. In the evening, Spooky and I watched Jean-Jacques Annaud's very under-appreciated Enemy at the Gates (2001). I'd seen it twice before, but she'd not seen it. In all ways this film is wonderful, except for James Horner's suffocating score. That was Thursday, give or take.

2) Friday: I exchanged what felt like about a hundred emails with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, mostly regarding the book trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I learned my lesson with the aborted trailer for The Red Tree. There are things I cannot do myself, and that's why there are other talented people in the world. I'll say more about it later, but the trailer's looking as if it'll be very cool. We're in the stage of casting about for models (Imp, Abalyn, and Eva), and finding locales, and all that fun stuff. I'll have more to say on this soon. I wrote very little yesterday on "Fake Plastic Trees," only about 400 words. I'm very near THE END, and I find myself shying away from the grimmest ending that may present itself. I wrote 400 words and had to step back, because it was a little too much to look at straight in the eye like that. Wicked little god you are, Aunt Beast, with all those universes clenched in your fists. Anyway, I'll probably finish the story today. I need to, as there's other work waiting. We left the house, and returned to Thayer Street, and I got the boots (thank you again, Jada). So, behind the cut, below, there's boot porn. They make me an inch taller, but what the fuck. I saw a very green willow. After dinner, we watched Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 2 again, since we watched Vol. 1 on Wednesday night. We played Rift, and Selwyn reached Level 30. She's becoming quite the bad-ass necromancer, out there doing the bidding of the Faceless Man. We read more of The Book Thief, and I decided what the book-club book will be next month (but don't ask; it's still a secret).

So, there. Two days, all squished up together. Condensed days.

There's talk of me being in Manhattan on the 17th of May. We'll see how that goes.

And I should decamp this blog for now, make an end to this entry, and face the woebegone day.

Boot Porn )


Implicitly,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
So, a thing I have never before done. But in the interest of reducing clutter (and covering a bill for unexpected auto repairs), I'm auctioning the keyboard that came with the iMac I bought in April 2007 and used continuously until getting a new keyboard in October 2010. So, that's three and a half years I used that keyboard. And it's perfectly functional, if a little schmutzy. It's signed and dated. The Red Tree and issues #17 through #58 of Sirenia Digest were written on this keyboard.

Here's the link to the auction.

The platypus, he says this is a chance of a lifetime.
greygirlbeast: (blackswan)
1. The cat's out of the bag. Yes, the work that I've been doing for SuicideGirls.com consists of being part of a development team creating a steampunk sister site, UnsavoryTarts.com. Not sure about the launch date. But I think the new site goes live in a few months.

2. Also, finally I can announce that the Alabaster film is in preproduction. Getting David Fincher on board as Executive Producer was entirely cockblocking the production, but now that he's agreed, Lion's Gate's announced that the project's greenlit. Yes, I'm very happy. In fact, I could hardly be happier, considering they've managed to sign Elle Fanning for the part of Dancy Flammarion. Also, Sid Haig will play the Bailiff, and Anne Hathaway has been cast as Aramat Drawdes (which, yes, gives away the fact that In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers forms part of the film). Wayne Barlowe will oversee creature design...and...I wish I could say more (the director, for example), but I can't. Except, maybe a summer 2014 release date.

3. Yesterday, no actual writing. Tons of email, though. Really. I weighed it.

4. I managed to get out of the house. We braved the shitty weather to make a trip to the Athenaeum. Just as we parked, it began to rain. By the time we left, it was snowing. By the time we got back to the house, it was snowing heavily. Fortunately, the ground was too warm for accumulation, so fuck you, Mr. Snow. At any rate, a good and productive trip to the library. There are photos below, behind the cut. But the coolest part by far was Spooky coming across a copy of Dashiell Hammett's 1931 anthology of macabre and suspense stories, Creeps by Night (The John Day Company). The book includes Lovecraft's "The Music of Erich Zann," and was one of the very few times in HPL's life that his fiction appeared in print outside the pulps, and one of the best pay checks he ever earned. Lovecraft was paid $25 for reprint rights. In 2008 dollars (best I could come up with), that's equivalent to about $317. This was two years after the beginning of the Great Depression. Anyway, I sat holding the volume, knowing that Lovecraft almost certainly held the very same copy at least once. The book was accessioned by the Athenaeum on September 27, 1932. Also, read Galway Kinnell's The Book of Nightmares (1971), which is on beyond beautiful.

5. Back home, I ripped off my left thumbnail. No, not on purpose.

6. I got to thinking yesterday about how my novels always wind up with theme songs. That is, one song usually gets associated, in my mind, with any given novel. With The Drowning Girl, it was Death Cab For Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into the Dark." With The Red Tree, it was Poe's "Haunted." With Daughter of Hounds, it was R.E.M.'s "You Are the Everything" (I think).

7. After the library, we stopped by the p.o., and there were a couple of packages waiting for me. [livejournal.com profile] hollyblack sent me a copy of Red Glove, which is now next in the to-be-read queue, after The Book Thief and Tender Morsels. There was also a package from Paul Riddell, which held many things, including a copy of Chuck Jones' Chuck Amuck. Books in the mail are a good thing. Yes, Precious.

8. Lying in bed last night, listening to Kathryn read Markus Zusak's brilliant, heart-breaking The Book Thief, this thought came to me: I could very well write a novel that offended no one, that was correct from every imaginable social and political perspective, and that wasn't, in any way, "triggering." Yes. I could do that. And it would be as bland as a mouthful of unsalted crackers, and it would be shit, and it would be of no worth to anyone. But I could do it. I could set aside all that "art is a hammer" nonsense. I could be safe and sterile and no one would ever have to worry that what they read between the covers of my books would cause them any discomfort of any sort.

And I made Spooky promise she'll take away my crayons and paper if i ever fucking do this.

9. No, I do not approve of Shopping-Enabled Wikipedia on Amazon. No, not even if it sells more of my books. No, not even if it makes our lives more convenient. It's still loathsome.

And now, photos:

31 March 2011 )


All photographs Copyright © 2011 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
This is the morning after Utter Exhaustion. The sky is grey, and there's rain. It looks like spring out there, whether or not it actually is spring. We can work that part out later.

There are only nine days remaining in "Tale of the Ravens" Kickstarter project. We'd really like to see those last two $500 spots claimed. Look at the truly cool stuff you get! And, of course, the more we exceed our goal, the firmer footing Goat Girl Press will set out upon. We're already thinking about projects we'll do after "Tale of the Ravens." Spooky's studying all sorts of cool handmade bookbinding techniques. So, yes. Donate!

Yesterday, I started off by adding another 550+ words to the end of The Drowning Girl, the "Back Pages" section that's sort of like an afterword. Almost. The manuscript, which is now essentially finished, presently stands at 105,711 words. That's about 5,000 words longer than The Red Tree. Anyway, while I was working on the novel, Spooky and Sonya were already busy with line edits on Two Worlds and In Between.

By late afternoon, early evening, Sonya and Spooky had made it through the edits on "Postcards from the King of Tides," "Rats Live on No Evil Star," "Estate," and "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun," while I'd done only "To This Water (Johnstown, Pennsylvania 1889)" — I discovered long ago that having only one good eye makes me a very slow editor. But...that meant we were almost done. Sonya and I then read through "Giants in the Earth," which is, indeed, far better than the odious "By Turns," and I swapped the latter for the former.

That left only The Dry Salvages to edit. I was going to leave it for Spooky and I to tackle, but stalwart Sonya suggested she and I go ahead and start it, then finish it today (We hates the young people, Precious, so full of energies.) But first we went to East Side Market, lest we starve of having run out of food. At the p.o., there were two CARE packages from Steven Lubold, including new PJ Harvey and Arcade Fire, Peter's American Fantastic Tales (vols. 1 and 2; Vol. 2 includes my story, "The Long Hall on the Top Floor") and two volumes of bookbinding for Spooky.

Back home, after cold roast beef sandwiches and such, Sonya and I read the first 17,292 words on The Dry Salvages. We'll finish it early this afternoon, before she heads back to Boston at 5:30 this evening. And that means the collection will be about 98% ready to go to subpress. It's absolutely true to say that without having Sonya here the past four days (she arrived Saturday evening), I'd have been utterly screwed. She saved my butt. Anyway, after about eight hours of editing yesterday, Spooky played Rift, and Sonya and I watched John Carpenter's The Thing, because she'd never before seen it. There was laundry drama, too, because someone had left an immense load of wet laundry (I'm talking a metric assload) in the washing machine. Spooky and I got to bed about two ayem.

Tomorrow, I'll send The Drowning Girl to my editor at Penguin. And within a day or two, Two Worlds and In Between will be delivered to subpress. Also, Lee and I are talking about offering a very limited edition (50-100 copies) of frameable signed and numbered prints of the collection's cover (which you'll see very soon).

And on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I'm taking a much needed and well earned break, before I start work on Sirenia Digest #64 on the 21st. Oh, also, I'm adding "The Worm in My Mind's Eye" to Two Worlds and In Between, which has never appeared anywhere but as a short chapbook only available to those who ordered the limited of The Dry Salvages. Also also, yesterday I took lots of photos, and will do so again today, so tomorrow I'll post a sort of photo essay of the end of this editing marathon.

But now...I go forth with platypus in hand to finish up. After I extract Mr. Bastard (alias Hubero) from my lap.

Chat at 'cha later, kittens.

Blinded by the Light at the End of the Tunnel,
Aunt Beast

P.S.: Not to put too fine a point on it, but I AM NOT A HORROR WRITER!
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Of course, the bottom of page 451 wasn't truly THE END. I sat down yesterday to contemplate the possibility of an epilogue to The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. On the one hand, the last few sentences were pitch perfect. On the other hand, it didn't feel like the place where Imp would stop. So, I stared at the screen and pondered a way to add, without taking away. And I wound up writing an additional 1,991 words, under the heading "Back Pages." These pages are a little more like a series of footnotes or journal entries than they are like any conventional sort of epilogue, but they do shed light on a few of the novel's murkier places. The ms. now stands at 103,493 words. And now, I think, I genuinely have reached THE END.

And here, in this place called the end, I think I'm happy. I think I've walked the tightrope. Last night, [livejournal.com profile] sovay read the book. She's the first person besides Spooky to have done so. She pronounced it "beautiful," "magnificent," and, importantly, nothing like The Red Tree.

Also, I exchanged emails with my editor, to whom I will send the book next week. We're looking into including one or two sketches in the book, which would be very cool.

I also wrote a letter to R.E.M.'s management, to obtain permission to reprint two lines from "Follow the River." An actual letter on actual paper, that will go into an actual envelope, and have an actual stamp placed on it, then an actual postmark, and be delivered to the actual post office in Athens where I used to have my p.o. box. Still waiting to hear back from Radiohead's management regarding permission to reprint two lines from "There, There (The Bony King of Nowhere)."

Spooky proofed "Houses Under the Sea" for Two Worlds and In Between

I coughed.

After dinner, she helped me with making the final selections of which pieces of art will be included in the bonus section of the limited edition of Two Worlds and In Between. I have artists to email today, though I still have a few decisions left to make.

It was a goddamn busy day. Which is how things are going to be around here for at least another week and a half. Or for the rest of March. I don't fucking know any longer. But I do have fantasies of taking two or three days off, sometime in March. I really haven't had any time off in many months.

Also, if you're reading this and I've promised to send you a copy of the ms. of The Drowning Girl, those will go out the fist half of next week, once I've had time to polish the prose just a bit.

---

Last night, I ventured back into WoW for the first time in days. You know that quest that I deemed one of the worst three in Azeroth, the one in Shadowmoon Valley called "I was a lot of things..."? Well, last night, in a fit of pique, I went back in determined to best it. I did, and it unlocked the rest of the quests I needed for the "Shadow of the Betrayer" achievement. Now, all that stands between me and Loremaster are nine quests in the infamously difficult to conclude Nagrand region of Outland, which is littered with broken quests and suchlike.

Also, played Rift for a couple of hours or three, and made it about halfway through Level 19. And then we read more of Catching Fire. We're halfway to the end.

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

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

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

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

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

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

27 February 2011 )


---

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

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

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

Gods, lots more...but it's gonna have to wait until another entry. Time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
The postman just brought me two copies of Weird Tales #357, which includes [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark's (Geoffrey H. Goodwin) interview with me. And...wow, this is just sort of cool. In February 1928, "The Call of Cthulhu" appeared in Weird Tales— and, for me, the magazine will always be Lovecraft's —and now here's me, eighty-three years later. The interview looks great. The coolest thing about it, they used the alternate cover for The Red Tree created by [livejournal.com profile] scarletboi (Christopher Lee Simmons). So, that just ladled a fat dollop of extra cool on top of the already cool. Anyway, it's the Spring 2011 issue, and if it's not out now, it soon will be. Oh, and the cover is one of Lee Moyer's exquisite paintings. Oh oh, and there's a very nice little review of The Ammonite Violin & Others, too. I should always have something this cool before breakfast.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,824 words on the ninth chapter of The Drowning Girl. This morning, I was speaking with my editor, and she doesn't want the book running any longer than 115,000 words at the most, so I find myself very, very near THE END. I have maybe two weeks of writing left until THE END, and maybe less. Which leaves me with mixed feelings. This has been, by far, the most difficult novel I've ever written, and it will be a bittersweet relief to see it done. But, on the other hand, I have fallen so deeply in love with Imp that setting her behind me and moving on to other stories will be very strange.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, if you've not already. Also, I've a favor to ask. Lately, I feel like I'm constantly asking favors of my readers, and the favors are almost always favors involving money. This I find distasteful in the extreme. But. It's been a longtime between checks again, and I have a doctor's appointment on Friday that's sort of hit us out of nowhere. And I've not yet paid my dues to the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology for 2011. As of March 1, I'll be facing a steep late fee on top of the $130 annual dues. I was nominated into SVP in 1984 and have been a member for twenty-seven years. So, there's a PayPal button below, and if you can donate a few bucks, I will be extremely grateful.

After the writing, Spooky and I proofed "La Peau Verte" for Two Worlds and In Between. And them, last night, I had a long nap before dinner. Writing at this pace, and coughing, I find naps unavoidable. Then, after dinner, we watched the new episodes of Fringe and Spartacus, and both were excellent. And then I played WoW and finished all the Thousand Needles quests and started in on the Un'Goro Crater ones. I hate Un'Goro Crater. And then we read more of [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's The White Cat. And then, finally, I slept.

Spooky has just inspired me to write a song titled "Heroin Slug," about a huge banana slug who lives in Portland, Oregon with a bunch of junkies. It will be very William S. Burroughs. I wonder if Weird Tales would publish it? Or maybe I know a musician who might set it to music and record it....

Comment!
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
1) Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We're in one of those dry spells between checks.

2) Now, before I forget again, the latest StarShipSofa includes a reading of "Galápagos." It's a pretty good reading. Merrick comes off a little too perky for a woman whose been through the hell she's been through, but the reader gets many words in many languages right, and that wins very big points with me.

3) The wind is a wild thing today. The wind is always a wild thing, but today it's throwing a wild rumpus out there. Speeds at 25mph, but gusting to 55mph. The house keeps moving, swaying. These old walls are reinforced with steel bands for protection against hurricanes, and days like this I'm grateful. Much of the snow has melted, though it's cold again, currently 35˚F (but feels like 21˚F). I shall be staying in today, thank you very much.

4) Yesterday, we actually did manage to make it all the way through the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Go, Spooky! She read all 24,765 words of that aloud, and had to contend with my constantly asking her to stop for this or that line edit. It all holds together much better than I thought, and now I have the confidence, I hope, to proceed with the eighth chapter and then the ninth.

5) I'm reasonably certain that I'll be writing my YA books as Kathleen Tierney. That has mostly been my decision. I'll continue to write short fiction, novellas, etc. as Caitlín R. Kiernan.

6) People do not mean to set me off. Well, at least sometimes it's clear they don't. Case in point: Last night, [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh posted a link to a review of the Decemberists' The King is Dead (in the comments to my blog), a review written by someone named Ezra Ace Caraeff and published in The Portland Mercury (February 17, 2011). It was not, I know, [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh's wish to set me off, but the very first paragraph got me so angry I spent much of the night bitching about it (much to Spooky's chagrin). The review begins by slamming The Hazards of Love as a "turgid rock opera." But then it gets really stupid. I quote:

Their determined song cycle put the story before the music, and its confusing plotline (with its forest creatures, fauns, and fairies, Hazards might as well have come pre-packaged with 12-sided dice and a wizard's cloak) distracted from both the band's melodic craft and frontman Colin Meloy's penchant for creating lyrics that have left many a weak-kneed listener and dog-eared thesaurus in their wake.

As kids these days are wont to say, o.0. Or something like that. The Hazards of Love is one of the most amazing musical accomplishments of the last decade, and it pains me to see how little vision there is in the world. Also, when will we learn to stop letting doofus hipsters write indie music reviews? Of course, then no one would write them. Of course...that would be a good thing, right? Yes, The King is Dead is excellent, but it's nowhere near the marvel the band achieved with The Hazards of Love (though, I admit, I love my dodecahedral dice). Regardless, I do not blame you, [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh.

7) My editor at Penguin wrote me yesterday about the recycled cover fiasco. In the end, it was pretty anticlimactic, as I'd expected it would be. I was told "It’s actually not that uncommon, as we only buy the rights to use the art on our books in the territories we have. The artist owns the work itself. So sometimes artists will sell the same painting or a similar painting to a foreign publisher for a different book, or sell the image for a greeting card or a calendar or something. I know it’s disconcerting to come across, though. I’m double-checking with our art director that the artist sold this legitimately, but I haven’t heard back yet." Of course, Penguin buys just about every territory on earth. But not Romania. By the way, the artist in question is Gene Mollica, and I'm told he has a website out there somewhere, though I have no wish to see it. It's all business as usual, and business as usual is pretty much always a slipshod, disheartening affair. Regardless, I don't blame my editor for this. She didn't make those rules.

8) Last night, after I plowed through all 55 quests in Azshara and started in on Desolace (still determined to get the title Loremaster before leaving WoW), I signed up for the Rift beta, and Spooky gave me a few minutes on her laptop. I rolled a Kelari mage named Selwyn and a Bahmi cleric named Shaharrazad (the name lives on! Arrakis, Azeroth, and now Telara). And I played a couple of levels. And...damn. The game is astounding. Everything I saw about this game is astounding. And beautiful. The best character generator I have ever seen, bar none. It was hard to go back to the candy-colored, cartoon silliness of WoW, with all its poo jokes and puns. But...I'll just soldier on and keep my sights on the spring. Of course, Rift isn't idiot proof. No MMORPG ever will be. For example, there was some Kelari woman named Mayonnaise in the starting area with me last night. I'm sure her typist though she or he was being terribly clever.

9) Yesterday, while we were reading, the door to the front stairwell mysteriously opened. We're pretty sure Hubero used his brain to make it open. And, of course, he was out in a flash, and Spooky had to chase him up and down the stairs. I came out and pulled the door shut behind me. And it locked. Fortunately, the guy downstairs is good at picking locks, so we were back inside in only about five minutes. Screw you, Houdini cat!

And now....doughnuts. Comments!
greygirlbeast: (sleeps with wolves)
1) I'm not getting to bed until almost dawn, but I'm actually sleeping, these last few nights. It's sort of amazing. I think taking a new sort of fuck-all attitude about my future is paying off.

2) Many dreams this ayem, but one stands out the sharpest. I was deep below Birmingham, Alabama, in a vast subterranean space, an immense artificial cavern created by coal mining in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The black was tangible, palpable, it was of such a quality, it was so very black. Far above, there were the faintest, disorienting hints of light entering cracks in the roof, hundreds of feet over head. I was not alone, but I have no idea who or what was with me there. We didn't talk. I walked a landscape of spoil heaps, mountains of coal, jagged shale pits, crumbling brick buildings, and rusted mining equipment. There were deep, still lakes. All of it sealed below ground for at least half a hundred years. The dream went on and on, like that cavern, leading nowhere in particular. It was as though I were walking through the realm of the Svartálfar, as interpreted by Piranesi. Spooky eventually woke me from it, and just before I did wake, I glimpsed my reflection in a mirror. My face was pale and smudged with coal dust, and my irises were a blue so pale they were almost white.

3) Yesterday, I stopped writing and we began reading back through everything I've written thus far on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The Lamictal has made such a mess of my short-term memory, I can't hold it all in my head as easily as before, so we have to read back through, and I have to make cheat sheets, and remember everything I've written. We made it through the first chapter with only minor line edits. In the second chapter, the line edits were fairly heavy. They will be more so in the third chapter today. We hope to read chapters three through five, though that might be too ambitious, these are such long chapters. But I have to get through it quickly, as I still have to finish the novel and all the editing on Two Worlds and In Between (Bill Schafer has given me a two week extension on the deadline for the collection, which gives me about a month).

Also, you will be getting the second chapter of The Drowning Girl in Sirenia Digest #63. More on this tomorrow.

4) The latest StarShipSofa podcast includes my James Tiptree, Jr. Award-honored story, "Galápagos." I've only had time to listen to the first few minutes, but it sounds good so far.

5) Still no explanation from my editor at Penguin regarding the recycled cover fiasco.

6) And while we're on the subject of how far WoW has fallen, did anyone else notice that, about three months back, with patch 4.0.3, all the female toons were subjected to breast augmentation? Yes, they were. Bigger hooters, all round. I blame the Royal Apothecary Society.

7) The last couple of days have seen some very good answers to the Question @ Hand. So, I guess the squeaky wheel gets the grease again. Anyway, I'd love to see a few more. The best will appear— anonymously —in Sirenia Digest #63.

8) Too much WoW last night, racing towards Loremaster in my final six weeks of play. I finished the Southern Barrens, made it through all seventy Northern Barrens quests, then finished up Ashenvale. Next! Felwood and Winterspring!

9) Have a look at the current eBay auctions! Spooky put new stuff up this morning, while I was still in that cavern below Birmingham.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)










greygirlbeast: (white)
Though I've had a few good responses, I'm a bit disappointed in the number of replies to the most recent Question @ Hand. Maybe it was a poor question, or maybe I phrased it poorly. I was very much hoping to get an article out of it for Sirenia Digest, but so far, there's just not enough for that. A number of people who wrote excellent bits for the first two questions have been silent; of course, it was a year ago I did this last, and maybe those folks no longer follow the LJ, or have jumped ship for that wretched Facebook thing, or something.

Anyway, this is my last solicitation for replies. I think people aren't thinking in terms of bodyart (though performance pieces are good, too), which is really what I was after. Thanks to those who have replied (and please don't reply with unhelpful comments like "You're already a work of art!" Nice sentiment, but not what I'm after). And no short stories, please. Again, I appreciate the effort, but ideally replies ought to fit into the comment space (which can be pretty long).

Also, just got this delightful, hilarious graphic from [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, the cover for The Red Tree, complete with warning label for the sexually squeamish:

Fear the Gay! )


Also! A new website for the exquisite Lolly Jane Blue, who, I think, blows Lady Gaga out of the water (and I say that as a casual sort of Lady Gaga fan).
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I've not left the house in eight days. Presently, it's sunny and 23˚F, though it feels like 10˚F with windchill. Things I only know because of the internet. The last few days, the sun and rain have made a small dent in the mountain of snow. The streets of Providence have begun their annual disintegration, as potholes open up all over. Not that it matters to someone who seems never to leave the house.

I'm feeling much, much better. This has been an odd cold, for Spooky and I both. I've dubbed it the "Long Island Express." Fast and hard. It was sort of like a week and a half of sick, all in three days. Still, I'd rather it be that way, than lower-grade misery for ten days.

I suppose yesterday was a half a day off. I didn't actively write, but I did work. Email, and looked over copy editor's marks on "Tidal Forces" (soon to appear in Johnathan Strahan's Eclipse Four). I lay in bed while Spooky read back over all of the seventh chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and made line edits. I see now that the seventh chapter is done, and I'll begin 8 today. And I see that this novel may only have nine chapters, so...the ending is nearing sooner than expected. Which feels very, very strange, considering I actually only was finally able to begin it in earnest in November (after, I think, three false starts over the preceding eight months).

---

Thanks for all the potential "if I were" questions posted yesterday as comments. There were some excellent ones, and all have been cut an pasted into a file I keep for such things. But, as it happens, I thought of a very good question last night, which I'll probably post tomorrow. I think it's just the right balance of disturbing and erotic.

---

The thing I was going to get into yesterday and didn't, another highly questionable Amazon.com "review" and the issue of Sarah Crowe's sexuality. I quote:

Over all, I liked the book. I did get a bit irritated with the author constantly telling the reader that Sarah is a lesbian.

Now, I should note up front that the reader did, indeed, like the book, and she gave it four out of five stars. And, originally, I wasn't going to carp about this. But it's been eating at me. I will try to be succinct, because it's actually a very simple problem. To begin with, "the author" wasn't "constantly telling the reader that Sarah is a lesbian." It was Sarah who did the talking. The interauthor whose journal makes up most of The Red Tree. There are plenty who would say that's an absurd distinction, but I disagree. However, that's not the meat of the problem here.

To put it as simply as possible, most gays and lesbians spend a lot more time thinking of themselves as gays and lesbians than most heterosexual men and women spend thinking about the fact of their heterosexuality. This is simply true, and it follows from the repression and discrimination and hatred visited upon queers. When you aren't "the norm," when, all your life, the validity of your desires and loves has been condemned and questioned and, at times, attempts have been made to beat it out of you, it changes how you see yourself. It's unfortunate, but it's true. Maybe someday a time will come when this isn't true, and no one will give a second thought to being a lesbian. But, for now, we live in a society that rarely misses an opportunity to remind us how we deviate from a heterocentric expectation. We spend a lot more time thinking of our sexual identity (which is not the same as thinking about sex) than do straight men and women, because it has become a label. A tag with which to distinguish us from everyone who isn't a lesbian. And if you're straight, and you still don't get this after hearing an explanation, I'm sorry, but you're just not trying. Sarah grew up in the Deep South, one of those parts of the country where it's very hard to be queer, and has, no doubt, spent much of her life taking crap, and yes, she'd quite frequently think of herself as a lesbian. Ergo, she'd write about it. The Red Tree is her book, her voice, her story.

I grow weary of the "I have nothing against lesbians, but why do I have to read about them?" crowd. It's hard not to see this as closeted or thinly-veiled homophobia. Hets are not entitled to live in ignorance of lesbianism, any more than lesbians are entitled to live in ignorance of heterosexuality. This is the world you made, now butch up and live with it.

---

The rest of yesterday. Dinner was the third day of quadrupedal chicken stew. Because I was too bored to stay in bed, and too sick to do much of anything else, there was a lot of WoW. We're finishing up the Twilight Highlands with Shah and Suraa, which means finishing up the meat of the Cataclysm expansion. The Twilight Highlands has been, by far, the best of the expansion. The scene where Alexstrasza attempts to destroy Deathwing was very nicely done. Most of the Twilight Highlands quest chains are good. While Uldum is pretty to look at, it shoots itself in the foot with all the "Harrison Jones" silliness. At least the Twilight Highlands quests mostly take themselves seriously.

Mostly. But...I would be lying if I tried to pretend that my love affair with WoW isn't coming to an end. Blizzard continues to dumb down the game (and it wasn't exactly a bright child to begin with). And they continue to inexplicably whittle away at warlock abilities (and, I assume, abilities for other classes). Yesterday's big patch took away the "drain mana" spell, which I rely on quite a bit in PvE. It's beginning to look like I'll be able to get a laptop this spring, exclusively for gaming, and I suspect that when I do I'll be dropping WoW for LoTRO and Rift (Spooky's doing the Rift Beta, and it's an amazing game). I need a lot less funny and far more coherent, consistent storylines. I need a world that isn't afraid to take itself seriously, and game designers who are a little more considerate of players. Blizzard, you've lost me.

And now...I make the doughtnuts. Comments!
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday, I wrote 3,243 words on Chapter 7 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Which makes yesterday my best day ever in terms of word count, with at least three hundred words to spare. I truly didn't think I'd be able to pull it off, but I did, and in only five hours. I suspect I may have been channeling [livejournal.com profile] matociquala. At any rate, it's nothing I wish to do again any time soon. Considering that my daily average the last few years has been about 1,100 words, I've written almost five days worth of novel in the last two days.

And I'm sick as a sick fucking dog. And I'm not working today. Well, I'm not writing. I may lie in bed and manage some proofreading by having Spooky read to me. But that's different. I actually suck at doing nothing. I've never learned the trick. Which makes being ill difficult. My mind rages on, even when the body would be still. It has to have something upon which to gnaw.

I've not left the house since last Monday evening, the 31st, so I've not been out for seven days. I was doing much better for a while, keeping to my resolution never to stay in for more than four consecutive days. But the novel's been coming so fast, and the weather's been so horrid, the days slip by without my even realizing it.

There's something substantive I want to write, regarding an Amazon "reviewer's" complaint that, in The Red Tree, I harp on Sarah's being a lesbian, and how the complaint reveals just how poorly many straight people understand what it's like to be queer, and how ignorance can quickly become prejudice. But I'm not up to it now. Tomorrow I might be.

Anyway, I will be checking the blog today, so comment if you'd like. Ah, here's something. A number of people have mentioned to me how much they've enjoyed the "Alone" and "CreatureMe" pieces in Sirenia Digest nos. 61 and 62, respectively. The answers that made up those two articles were in response to questions I asked in the blog two years back. So...here's a challenge. Come up with a new question of the same sort. Something as good as "If I were a summonable monster..." and "What if you had me alone..." Don't worry, you couldn't shock me if you tried. But feel free to try, all the same.

Okay. Gotta go horizontal for a few minutes.
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
So, today is Imbolc. And here we are, halfway to the vernal equinox. Which really can't come soon enough. The threat of more snow has dissolved into drizzle and a skim of slush atop the mountains of snow. We'll have a fresh glaciation when the sun goes down. I haven't seen the sea since, I think, October. Today, there's a parking ban in effect in Providence (no street parking).

Our thanks to everyone who dropped by Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries yesterday. And since someone bought the mermaid necklace, I have to point you towards my other most favorite, her Someday antique key necklace. FREE shipping until Valentine's Day. Please do have a look. The platypus says so, that's why.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,760 words and finished the sixth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Given I only just finished the fifth chapter on Sunday, that might sound sort of strange. So, I should explain that Chapter 5 was very, very, very long, and I decided to split it. So, the second half of 5 is now 6 (plus what was written yesterday).

Anyway, yesterday I passed the 300th manuscript page, and the total word count stands at 67,537. Last night, I sent the entire manuscript to [livejournal.com profile] sovay, because I'm losing all perspective. She says I'm still on track. I expressed concerned about some of the structural similarities between The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. To which she replied, "I think any questions of repetition should be mitigated by the fact that the narrative also includes a five-act play; it's by its own acknowledgment, like any memory or storytelling, a collage." Which helped allay my worries, though nothing's gonna make them actually go away.

There's a nice write-up at io9 on Jeff and Ann VanderMeer's forthcoming The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, being a most sublime and unusual collection to which I contributed "A Key to the Castleblakeney Key." The book will be out June 21st.

Also, Dark Horse is talking up Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir, the collection that includes "The Maltese Unicorn," the only short story I've ever written about a Depression-Era lesbian private eye in the employ of the madam of a demon brothel trying to recover an ancient and magical dildo carved from unicorn horn. I'm very pleased to see that Supernatural Noir got a really beautiful cover. I pretty much don't expect those anymore. The collection will be released June 22nd.

The good word count and kind words from Sonya aside, yesterday was sort of crappy. And included disquieting computer shenanigans and a fall in the bathtub that could have been a lot worse than it was (I got off with a bruised arm). Still, last night wasn't so bad. We watched two episodes of American MastersThe Greely Expedition and Into the Deep: America, Whaling, and the World. Later still, I briefly left the house and wandered Outside, into the snowbound street.

And here's a photo of an icy window, dendrites and ice and filigree, taken early yesterday from one of my office windows:

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

---

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

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

At best, I'm halfway through the novel.

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

--

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

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

More snow last night.

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

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

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

A razor-sharp crap-shoot affair...

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions.

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

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

17 January 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Here we are again.

Expect no improvement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In summation, 2010 was quite a bit better than 2009. Which is to say, it was, all in all, tolerable (though the first few months were spectacularly awful). I'll hope that 2011 may actually be a good year. I don't think I've had one of those since...oh, never mind.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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