greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Sunny today, though not precisely warm. I opened my office window for about five minutes, then shut it again. But it'll be warmer tomorrow, and the tree outside my office window has tiny green shoots.

Nothing was written yesterday. Most of the day was spent trying to find a vignette. Still not sure whether or not I did. Also, I tried to work on the interview for Clarkesworld. You'll recall (or you won't) that back in the autumn I declared a moratorium on interviews, after having done a dozen or so relating to the release of The Red Tree. I thought that perhaps I was ready to begin giving interviews again. I may have been wrong. I answered the first question yesterday, and began the second...and suddenly it all sounded like bullshit, everything I'd said. The more I write, the older I get, the less interest I have in writing about how and why I write. The stories should speak for themselves. I do intend to finish this interview, but it will likely be my last for some time to come.

I slept almost eight hours again last night. I assume it's one of the new meds.

And I have this question, via email from Ron St. Pierre: "I know you do not write horror, but your stories give me a chill at times. I was re-reading my draft, and it gave me a chill. Is that how you know a story is working, when it really scares yourself?"

No. I can only think of a two or three times that I've written stories that frightened me. "Rats Live on No Evil Star," that one did. Perhaps also "La Peau Verte." But it's a very, very rare thing, when that happens. Which is hardly surprising, as I'm not trying to write stories that "scare" people (which is one of several reasons I say I'm not a "horror" writer). And even if a story were to frighten me, given the inherent subjectivity of fear, scaring myself would be no guarantee than anyone else would have the same reaction. Sometimes, when I am writing, there is a sort of frission, a certain intensity. When I feel that, I usually suspect that "a story is working." Well, for me, at least. There is never, ever any way to know that a story that works just fine for me will work for anyone else. No matter how desperately a writer may strive for mass appeal, or even appeal beyond him- or herself, the enterprise is too personal, too introverted, too subjective to ever know such a thing a priori. If others like it, you have on your hands a fortunate accident and nothing more. And there I was more articulate than my attempts to answer interview questions yesterday.

---

Last night, we watched the Coen Brothers' A Serious Man. Wow. An amazing, unnerving film. At least, we found it so. I expect many people watched the film and were simply baffled. I loved the prologue, it's encounter with a dybbuk on a snowy night. The remainder of the film builds towards a peculiar crescendo that interweaves the utterly inexplicable nature of the universe (or, if you prefer, "God"), Jewish American culture in the late 1960s/early 1970s, the story of Job, a sort of anti-nostalgia, the inscrutability of mankind, and an almost Fortean spite for anything like comprehension. The final shot...which I won't reveal...gave me chills. And the film is also quite funny, though, in the end, the laughs seem to add up to a very, very cruel joke. Very highly recommended.

And now, the day.
greygirlbeast: (white)
I think the snow that fell on New Year's Eve has no intention ever of melting. It's a hard white crust laid over half that portion of the world that is visible from the many windows of the house. I've not left the house since the storm, which means I've not left the house this year. Today the sun is brilliant, and the sky is utterly blue. There is no warmth, though.

I did some tallying this morning, and see that I've done 53 pieces of fiction (vignettes, short stories, etc.) for Sirenia Digest over the past four years, since December 2005. During that same time, I've written only 5 short stories that were not intended for the digest; I also did the Beowulf novelization and wrote The Red Tree. The number of non-digest stories climbs slightly if I include the original pieces for Tales from the Woeful Platypus (as opposed to the reprints). If I include those, the number comes to 10. Still, 53 to 10. Plainly, the vast majority of my short fiction these days is being written for the digest. I just hope that quantity has not overwhelmed quality. That is one of my greatest fears.

I have an email from Mat Winser, who asks:

I think a few years ago, you wrote a story for an anthology based on Absinthe. Did that collection ever see light of day?

The anthology did not, which is a shame, as I was to be paid, in part, with Mari Mayans. However, the story I wrote for the anthology, "La Peau Verte," was published in my collection To Charles Fort, With Love, and also won the International Horror Guild Award for "Outstanding Achievement" in mid-length fiction. It was also reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (vol. 17), edited by Steve Jones.

All of yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest #37 together, and it went out to subscribers late last night, at 11:12 p.m. (CaST). If you have not received #37 and are a subscriber, please write to Spooky at x.squid.soup.x(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll make it right.

Last night, we had a sort of Nicolas Cage binge, and watched Vampire's Kiss (1989) and Moonstruck (1987). Nothing much else to yesterday.
greygirlbeast: (chi4)
About 2:30 a.m. this morning, I got the news that "La Peau Verte" had won the International Horror Guild (IHG or "Iggy") Award for "best mid-length fiction." In the old days, I think they called those novelettes, those stories longer than short stories, but shorter than novellas. I always hated the word, novelette, and would much prefer to think of "La Peau Verte" as "mid-length fiction." Anyway, yes, I am very, very pleased. This is my fourth IHG since 1999 (I've had eight nominations). I was honestly actually kind of suprised to get this one. I thought it would go to Joe Hill for sure (he won in the "Best Collection" category for 20th Century Ghosts). Jeff VanderMeer kindly accepted the award in my stead. What's cool, I think, is that now "To Charles Fort, With Love" includes two IHG-winning stories: "Onion" and "La Peau Verte." Still, no one in NYC will touch it. Yay me!

I did not mean to imply yesterday that there was any imminent threat of my jumping ship and abandoning LJ for the hellish din and flash of MySpace. It would take something pretty cataclysmic to drive me to such an awful end. Not gonna happen, but I do sense that a lot of other people have fled LJ for the glitz and sleeze and invasive adverts of MySpace; I just can't figure out why.

Note that Leh'agvoi ([livejournal.com profile] setsuled) has posted the 58th and final chapter of The Adventures of Boschen and Nesuko. And I just want to say thank you for that final panel on the fourth page.

Argh. I have an e-mail here from LJ telling me that my expanded icon feature expires in eight days and I need to renew. Argh.

I'm liking Final Fantasy XII, by the way. So far, the tone has been somewhat more adult, or mature, or something of that sort, than the previous FF games I've played. Okay, except for having to hunt down and kill the rogue killer tomato thingy. All in all, it's a beautiful game, though I've only had time to play a couple of hours in.

Watch Hill

Aug. 6th, 2006 11:17 am
greygirlbeast: (decemberists)
I learned last night (thank you [livejournal.com profile] sovay) that I'm a World Fantasy Award finalist, twice over. To Charles Fort, With Love has been nominated for Best Collection, and "La Peau Verte" has been nominated for Best Short Story. In both categories, I am in august company (Kelly Link, Joe Hill, Peter S. Beagle, Holly Phillips, Bruce Holland Rogers, George Saunders, and — ahem — Peter S. Beagle), and I am extremely pleased with these nominations, as I was with the earlier IHG nominations. On the heels of the recent Troubles, it's most heartening, and this is the first time during my eleven years in publishing that I've received WFA nods. I hope it's an indication that my work is beginning to be perceived more as fantasy, in a broader sense, and less as "horror," sensu genre. Oh, I almost forgot. I was also very, very happy to see that Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth (ed. by Steve Jones), which included my story "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6," was nominated in the Best Anthology category.

Today's another day indoors, and I aim to get two entries done, the one for August 2nd I'd meant to do on Friday and another one for yesterday.

Early on Wednesday, I finally learned what had happened with the two remaindered trade paperbacks, Low Red Moon and Murder of Angels. I did not yet know that the books would still be released next year as mass-market paperbacks, but just knowing something, removing even that small bit of uncertainty, allowed my black mood to lift an inch or so. The cottage was hot as hell, and we left, dimly hoping to find cooler air somewhere else. At first, there was an odd bit of circling about (I think we were both a little addled from the heat) and we ended up heading north on Highway 2 towards Warwick. Not being especially fond of Warwick, I asked Spooky if we could please avoid it. She was grumpy, and the whole thing was sort of like Susan Sarandon trying to reach Mexico without going through Texas in Thelma and Lousie. We exited Hwy. 2 and took Middle Road west into East Greenwich, passing Ike Shippee Corner and Tarbox Corners, then turning north on Carr's Pond Road, then west again into West Greenwich and onto I-95, turning south through Exeter. A whole lot of aimless wandering about in the sun, seeing nothing much of interest.

Finally, it was determined that we should head southwest to Watch Hill, all the way down at the Connecticut border (as we're both fond of Watch Hill, and we hoped there might be cooler air thereabouts). Amazingly, there was cooler air in Watch Hill! We parked on Bay Street, near Book and Tackle, a shop with such an intriguing name we were drawn at once inside. I saw no tackle, but there were aisles and aisles of old books and postcards. The floor was wooden, and there were minute dunes at the base of a lot of the shelves, sand tracked in on shoes and bare feet and not swept away. But the bookshop was sweltering, and we soon found ourselves back outside in cool ocean breeze. There were great clouds building in the western sky, above Stonington and Little Narragansett Bay, mercifully shutting out the sun. We walked up Bay Street to the Flying Horse Merry-Go-Round. To quote a somewhat illiterate tourism website:

Oldest in America, made in 1867. The 20 horses are not attached to the floor but instead are suspended from a center frame, swinging out or flying when in motion. About each horse is hand carved from of wood and is embellished with real tails and manes, leather saddles and agate eyes. The only flying horse carousel surviving in the country. It was brought to Watch Hill in 1883 permenently in 1883 or 1884. Children only. Lovingly maintained and preserved by The Watch Hill Memorial Library and Improvement Society.

We sat with an old man on a stone bench and watched the horses swinging round and round beneath the exposed support beams of the roof. A little later, we walked down to Fort Road and Watch Hill Cove, where we sat on the sea wall and watched the sun begin to set. It must have been about seven p.m. by then. The heat was much lessened by the clouds and a steady breeze off the water. The cove was dotted with bobbing boats of all sorts. I was especially taken with a sleek yacht appropriately named Aphrodite. The tide was going out, and I climbed over the wall onto the wet brown sand. There was a tiny jellyfish stranded there. Spooky found a desiccated minnow lying on the wall and we speculated on the circumstances of its demise. There were gulls and cormorants and sparrows and one haughty swan. The sun was beautiful on the water. And the tourists were far and away less vile than the sort we'd encountered earlier down in Galilee, Narragansett, and Jerusalem. I cannot abide most of the beach-goers, sweaty sunburned drunks of both sexes, barely clothed, loud and garish and ugly, flip-flops and thongs and great hairy bellies...but I'm getting off track.

Five years back, I began a story, "The House at Watch Hill Point," but only got 350 words in before it stalled out on me. Walking about Watch Hill on Wednesday, I thought perhaps I should finish it. Well, in truth, it's hardly been properly begun.

We drove up to Wakefield for dinner at Italian Village, a marvelous little restaurant Spooky introduced me to in July 2004. Then, back in Greenhill, where things had cooled off quite a bit, we watched Project Runway (still pretty dull compared to the first two seasons, though I've taken an inexplicable liking to Bradley). I made my first LJ/Blog entry in seven days. I didn't get to sleep until about four a.m.

Here are some photos (behind the cut):

2 August 2006 )


Okay. More later. There's e-mail I should be dealing with.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

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