greygirlbeast: (twilek2)
This afternoon, I'm missing Alabama.

Here, it's vaguely, unenthusiastically sunny. That sky could at least have the decency to snow. Then again, for Providence, we've hardly had a winter. Right now, it's 43˚F. Hey, winter! Shit or get off the goddamn pot, already.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,157 words on a new pseudo-vignette, "Camuffare." It's quiet, and easy, and strange. It's not at all what I expected to be writing this month, but maybe it's what I need to be writing – assuming I need to be writing anything at all. Let us make no a priori assumptions. But, so far, I like "Camuffare."

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack asked, Will it benefit you, in terms of your standing with the publisher re sales etc. more if I preorder The Drowning Girl, or if I walk into a shop and buy it within the first week of release? Truthfully? I don't think anyone knows. Publishers are insane about preorders. Publishers are equally insane about the first six weeks of a book's release. It pretty much comes down to that. Unless a book blows the whole world away via preorders or those first six weeks of sales, screw it. It never happened. What's next? Yes, it genuinely is like that. So, to answer your question, I'd say preorder, if only because that's more convenient to you.

Speaking of preorders, it's very important that Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart does very, very well. So, please. If you can preorder, do. And thank you. And don't forget what Emerson said. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Anyway, here's the cover (by Lee Moyer), in case you've never followed one of the hundred or so links I've posted (them blue ladies with horns, they gets me every darned time):



It occurs to me that the only drawback to murder is the inevitable post-homicide emotional crash. Oh, and my thanks to everyone who followed the link to Amazon's page for The Drowning Girl and took a second to click like. All 88 of you. If nothing else, I know that 88 people read yesterday's entry. Of course, if you didn't click yesterday, you can always click today.

---

Last night, I swore I wouldn't play SW:toR. The GLBT-friendly RP guild we joined has finally started going to shit. But, you know, two weeks of decent RP before everything begins to come apart in nonsense and drivel is ahead of the curve, right? Anyway...at least it's not my guild. And, anyway, don't grownups do grownup shit? I always imagined it would be that way. I'd grow up, and there'd be 9-5, martinis, bills, vacations, a two-car garage, wild orgies, lawn flamingos, funerals, dinner parties, and 2.5 children. Well, okay, I got the bills, but the rest of it? Nowhere to be seen.

So, instead of playing with all the other grownup children, we streamed movies on the iPad (in 1975, when I was eleven, that sentence would have been science fiction). First, Elliott Lester's very so-so Blitz (2011). Not a great film, but not a bad film, and, what the hell, I'd pay to watch Jason Statham eat a sandwich (I have the same problem with Bruce Willis).

But then...then we came across this film I'd never heard of, even though I should have heard of it. Bless the Child, directed by Chuck Russell (2000). I looked at the cast – Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits (okay, not too interesting so far, but wait for it), Rufus Sewell (see, now we're getting somewhere), Angela fucking Bettis, Christina Ricci, and Ian Holm. And...what a total piece of shit! It might have scraped lows in Xtian horror that few Xtian horror films had previously scraped. The screenplay didn't even manage to be hilariously bad. It was just bad; no ambition. The cinematography had all the artistry of something made for Lifetime. There were some CGI demons that probably would have been interesting to see twelve years ago. There were lots of Evil Goths® and plot holes and pot holes and scary Catholic histrionics and Rufus Sewell trying really, really hard to sound villainous, but you can tell the poor guy's thinking, Yup. This is the end of my career. It's all downhill from here. Oh, wait. Christina Ricci's head falls off. That was pretty cool. And, frankly, the actor who played the Jesus-in-a-dress kid, Holliston Coleman, she carried the whole film on her tiny shoulders, and got all the best lines, and was the cutest little saviour of humanity ever. Gagh. Guys, you have to see this film. It's so bad – in a harmless, stupid, slobbering dog sort of way – you have to see it. Only 3% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes! 3%! I still don't know how I missed it in theatres.

Oh, and then we played SW:toR, anyway.

And then I finished Chris McGowan's The Dragon Seekers. And that was yesterday.

Perpetually Adolescent,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
I realized over breakfast – a cold hard-boiled egg with black pepper and salt, accompanied by iced coffee – that I've not left the house since June 28th. I had no idea I'd hit a stretch of inadvertently going shut-in again, nor had Spooky. The last week and a half has been an utter blur of proofreading, Important Phone Calls, heat, internet porn, cat hair, other people's fireworks, Vincent D'Onofrio, car trouble, and Rift. But yeah, today will have been the tenth day, if I don't go Outside. My record is fourteen days...

My dog and fuck me, it's hot in here. 9O˚F? I don't know. I just couldn't deal with typing in the middle parlor again.

Okay, here's the tentative Table of Contents for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart: 25 Tales of Weird Romance:

Author’s Introduction: “Sexing the Weird”
“The Wolf Who Cried Girl”
“The Bed of Appetite”
“Untitled 31”
“The Collector of Bones”
“Beatification”
“Untitled Grotesque”
“Flotsam”
“Regarding Attrition and Severance”
“Rappaccini's Dragon (Murder Ballad No. 5)”
Unter den Augen des Mondes
“At the Gate of Deeper Slumber”
“The Melusine (1898)”
“Untitled 33”
“I Am the Abyss and I Am the Light”
“Dancing With the Eight of Swords”
“Murder Ballad No. 6”
“Lullaby of Partition and Reunion”
“Derma Sutra (1891)”
“The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade”
“The Belated Burial”
“The Bone's Prayer”
“A Canvas for Incoherent Arts”
“Pickman’s Other Model (1929)”
“The Peril of Liberated Objects, or the Voyeur's Seduction”
“Fish Bride”
Afterword (author TBA)

Note that "Untitled 31" and "Untitled 33" will have titles when they appear in the collection. And yeah, the ToC is subject to minor changes. This is a slightly longer collection than The Ammonite Violin & Others.

---

Yesterday, the heat had me feeling ill, and very little work was accomplished. We proofed "Untitled Grotesque," because I'd realized it would be appearing in the collection. I answered some email. I'm on two meds that increase my heat sensitivity. Last summer it was three, so I suppose I should be grateful (but to whom or what?!) that I'm down to two. I did talk to subpress about tiny design details on the Two Worlds and In Between dust-jacket. But, mostly, I lay in bed feeling vaguely nauseous. Whee!

[livejournal.com profile] sovay is supposed to be here this evening. That gives me a focal point.

Do kids these days have any idea of what a telephone operator once was?

Mostly, I need to get back to work on Blood Oranges, and I am beset by a Great Reluctance to move forward. I probably ought not say why. That would be indelicate. So, I'm sweating and spinning my wheels and wasting precious time. Oh, I slept eight hours this morning (beginning at 3:30 ayem). Yesterday morning, I dreamt of excavating an enormous (roughly 90 meter) mosasaur skull from beds of chalky marl (or marly chalk) in central Alabama. I very clearly recall the frontoparietal suture. I think it was of the genus Prognathodon. This morning, I dreamt of Alabama zoos, and subterranean passages beneath zoos that led into vast green rivers, and swimming in those rivers.

Waste is the only sin, and nothing in the world is more precious than time. Someone will tell me love is more precious, but love can be readily reduced to a matter of time.

Sorry, platypus. Not up to sweaty fur today. The dodo will console you. Wait, here's a cool thing: sunrise at Tycho (that's on the moon, yo, located in the southern lunar highlands, named after the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601).

Secluded in My Secret Lair,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (stab)
Spooky just read me a review of Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir, which includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn." Actually, no. She didn't read me a review, or even a "review." It was just some dipshit's blog entry. He took issue with the fact that Gregory Frost's "The Dingus" and my story both use the word dingus in different ways, and this confused the blogger. Because, you know, he doesn't own a dictionary or know how to use Google (never mind an obvious unfamiliarity with the works of Daishell Hammett). Honestly, how much longer do I have to endure unabashed human stupidity? It's as if people are PROUD to be morons. Anyway, I just timed myself. I needed only five seconds, using Google, to learn that dingus is:

Used to refer to something whose name the speaker cannot remember, is unsure of, or is humorously or euphemistically omitting - here's a doohickey—and there's the dingus. – and – Dingus –noun, plural -us·es. Informal: a gadget, device, or object whose name is unknown or forgotten.

Five measly seconds! The internet! Use it, motherfuckers! Maybe Google has become like libraries; cool people don't use it.

Meanwhile, in the Great State of Alabama, where so much of my life was squandered, I have the story of Republican state Senator Scott "Top of His Class" Beason, who is unsure why he called blacks "aborigines." Yes, you read that correctly. A brief quote from the article:

In one transcript, Beason and two other Republican legislators were talking about economic development in predominantly black Greene County and the customers at one of the county's largest employers, the Greenetrack casino in Eutaw.

"That's y'all's Indians," one Republican said.

"They're aborigines, but they're not Indians," Beason replied.


As kids these days are wont to say, o.0. Actually, the comment "That's y'all's Indians" might be the worst of it.

---

Kittens, there's no such thing as salvation. But if there were, it would be anger.

---

Anyway, yesterday I wrote something, but I can't yet tell you what I wrote, because it's related directly to that NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL, but that I can't yet announce. I emailed the first half of Blood Oranges to my agent. And then I spent a couple more hours editing the ms. of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. And that was work yesterday.

Oh, and, as it happens, my contributor's copies of Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir arrived, and this is an awesome book, which you must own. The beady eyes of the platypus, they compel you! Also, all modesty aside, "The Maltese Unicorn" is one of the best short stories I've written in years. Dingus!!!!!

---


Late last night, we watched a movie. Now, here's the problem with Hal Hartley. On the one hand, he can make a brilliant film like No Such Thing (2001), and on the other hand he makes turds like The Girl from Monday (2005) and (the film we saw last night) The Book of Life (1998). Imagine a film devoid of acting, a script, art direction, cinematography, direction, sets, all production values...well, most that stuff you find in movies. Instead, it's just a garbled story about Jesus deciding the end of the world is a really bad idea, and you have The Book of Life. Now, the good news is threefold: 1) Polly Jean Harvey plays Mary Magdalene, and she at last tries to act in one scene, and is cool to look at the rest of the time; 2) William S. Burroughs adds a voice-over as a hellfire-and-brimstone radio preacher; and 3) the film is, mercifully, only 63 minutes long. Honestly, kittens. Not worth your time or the cost of a rental. Watch Henry Fool or No Such Thing again if you need a Hartley fix.

Fuck. I have to work today. Throw comments at me. Maybe something will stick.

Angrified,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
I am not nearly awake enough to be writing this entry, but, still, write it I shall. It is allotted but one hour, and then I must begin packing again. Wakefulness is irrelevant. And, I have recently been less awake than now, such as night before last, as I was packing CDs and started singing "Particle board, particle board, doing the things a particle...board...can do." That was a low point. I blame the How It's Made marathon. Anyway, Spooky's about to take Hubero away to Pets Are People, To be imprisoned until after the movers are done tomorrow. Hubero says we're evil parents. But he's a bastard.

A friend came to help us with the Birmingham fiasco yesterday. I will not use his "real" name. Let's call him Friend X. No, that's too long. Let's call him Jim. Yeah, sure. Jim's a good solid name. Even if his "real" name is not "Jim." We sat and talked a bit, chatting amidst this maze of boxes, before heading for Alabama. I heard the story of how he discovered that his eccentric next-door neighbor is, in fact, Steve Walsh, vocalist and keyboard player for the progrock legend Kansas (that must be typed with the proper amount of reverb). How weird is that? "Carry On My Wayward Soul," indeed. We call these signs, if we are superstitious. We call them meaningful coincidences, if we are merely Jungian. If we are strictly empirical, we call them, simply, coincidences. I'm never sure, anymore, what I should call anything.

The drive to Birmingham was relatively uneventful. Hot, but uneventful. The Harris Building was an oven, but I can drive a freight elevator with the best of them. Oh, wait. I'm getting ahead of myself. We had to pick the truck up from the Penske rental place just north of Sloss Furnace, and Spooky saw right off that the brand new yellow truck they brought out for us had a bald tire (left rear). So, we had to wait...and wait...and wait...while another truck was driven up from Oxmoor Road. And it was hot. I think we got to the Harris Building about 3 pm (Central), and it closes at 5, which left us with only two hours to load the truck with the contents of my 5'X12' storage unit. The gigantic steel Lane cabinet was the worst of it. And frell me with a dead wombat if there weren't boxes hidden away in there that have been packed since I left Boulder (Colorado) back in the '80s. We finished up about 4:30 or 4:45, with time to spare. I said my goodbyes to my mother and stepfather, and then we headed back to Atlanta. Headed "home" no longer seems right. Home is waiting for us in Providence. Anyway, "Jim" drove the 12' Penske truck, Spooky drove to car.

A few miles west of the Anniston/Gadsden exit we were caught in a veritable deluge, complete with thunder and lightning. Lots of people pulled over to wait it out, but we bravely forged ahead. Water. From the sky. Searing bolts of electricity stabbing earthward. And they say Charles Fort was a loony bird! As Spooky drove, I began reading Neptune's Ark: From Ichthyosaurs to Orcas (2007) by David Rain Wallace (with illustrations by Ken Kirkland). See above: superstition, meaningful coincidences, and coincidences. It was, as I said last night, about 9 pm by the time we made it back to Atlanta. Kaloo kallay.

After a quick dinner, we sent off Sirenia Digest #30 (thank you, Thing). Speaking of which, I somehow screwed up and omitted Vince's illustration for "Rappaccini's Dragon." So. Later today expect a supplement to #30, consisting of that illustration. Sorry guys. It's mad around here. Anyway, after packing lots of clothes, I hand washed a few things, and we went to bed EARLY (about 1 ayem). Spooky read me Robert McCloskey's Time of Wonder, which usually helps me get to sleep. It didn't last night. She dozed off, and I watched the end of The Return of the King and part of the middle of Jackson's remake on King Kong (two of my "sleep movies"), and I finally got to sleep about 2:30, I think.

We've decided — given all the packing that's left to be done today — that we will likely not leave Atlanta until Friday morning (instead of late Thursday), which still puts us getting into Rhode Island on Saturday evening, as planned. We drive the Penske, Byron drives the car. Hubero will ride with us, as his cat carrier (he calls it the Iron Maiden, or the Cage of Despair, or the Black Pit of Angband, depending on his mood) fits snuggly between the truck's seats. We even got a truck with a CD player. Regardless, whether we leave tomorrow evening or Friday morning, this has to be counted as our last semi-"normal" day in Atlanta. The beginning of the last 48 hours or so. The last 2,880 minutes. We'll sleep on an air mattress tomorrow night (and, possibly, for several nights in Providence, until the movers find us).

And I think that's it for now. I must start packing the last things left to packed. It's going to be a Very Long Day, but Byron's coming over this evening, which is something to which I can look forward.
greygirlbeast: (blindchi)
We've been home maybe an hour now (having left for Birmingham at about 11:30 am), but I'll say more about that tomorrow morning. I'm much more than exhausted, and there's still packing I need to do tonight. Three trips to Birmingham in three weeks, but now it's done. And the things (mostly paleo' equipment and specimens) I've had in storage there for six years and five months are no longer in storage. My mother and step-father met us at the old Harris Warehouse and Transfer Building at 23rd Avenue South and Sixth Avenue South (a building I used years ago as the setting for "The Long Hall on the Top Floor"), where my things have been all this time, since August 2001. I'll not see my mother again until she visits us in Providence this autumn. I don't know if I'll ever see Birmingham again. Which is a weird thing to say, given I lived so many years of my life in or near Birmingham.

Spooky just sent out Sirenia Digest #30. If you are a subscriber, it's likely waiting in your in-box. If not, email Spooky at crk(underscore)books(at)yahoo(dot)com, and she'll fix you up straight away. I do hope you like this issue. And, as always, comments and new subscribers are welcome.

Okay. Yeah. Packing. The platypus feels so neglected....
greygirlbeast: (new chi)
Things are getting a bit hectic around here for blogging, but I'm stealing a few minutes. The trip to Birmingham yesterday was sad and very hot and we lost time we couldn't afford to lose. I have a little bit of a sunburn, because, on top of being so photosensitive to begin with, the frelling doxycycline makes me even more so. It was weird seeing my doctor for what is likely the last time. She'd been my doctor since about 1991. Something that that. The better part of twenty years. We made it back home about 9 pm. Too late for packing, and much too sun-weary and just plain weary for packing. We watched two more episodes of Millennium — "Anamnesis" and "A Room With No View." I especially liked the latter, in part because of Sarah-Jane Redmond's portrayal of the enigmatic Lucy Butler*. And then Spooky went to bed, and I strayed onto Second Life for a couple of hours with Pontifex. Just a long conversation, in character, the sort of thing that makes me sorry I do not have time to keep a journal for the Toxia incarnation of Nareth, the way I did for the Professor. That was yesterday. Right now, we have storms here in Atlanta.

Was anyone else aware that my old CafePress shop is still up and running? I sure wasn't. Maybe, when the dust settles, I'll add a thing or three.

Expect the new issue of Sirenia Digest, #30, tomorrow, most likely.

This morning, Spooky and I had to venture OTP ("Outside the Perimeter"), all the way up to Chamblee or Doraville or some such place, to the United Van Lines center to get a bunch of "mirror boxes" for framed pictures and such. On the way back into town, we treated ourselves to a matinée of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. No, it's not as good as Raiders of the Lost Ark, but I was delighted, all the same. I would say this is possibly the second best Indiana Jones film. At any rate, seeing Indy and Marion together again was pure geek heaven. Shia LaBeouf and Harrison Ford were great together. And Cate Blanchett, whom I pretty much adore unconditionally, was spectacular as Irina Spalko; you could just see her having fun with the role. Warts and all, I loved it. And the warts were fairly small. I was especially pleased with the way that an older, wearier Jones was handled. So, yeah, great fun. And we got a trailer for Hell Boy II: The Golden Army, which looks like it's going to be even better than the first film.

And now, we have five days remaining until the movers come. Five days and some change. Let's see, from right this moment, something like 128 hours. 7,680 minutes. 460,800 seconds. And quite a bit of packing left to do. Prick me right now, and I'd bleed newsprint and bubblewrap.

Oh, and somewhere in there I managed to finish Chapter 8 of Ronald Rainger's biography of Henry Fairfield Osborn ("Organisms in Space and Time: William Diller Matthew and Vertebrate Paleontology at the American Museum."

I've been thinking about everything I've written since we moved to this house from the Kirkwood loft back in December 2004. Daughter of Hounds and the Beowulf novelization. Frog Toes and Tentacles and Tales from the Woeful Platypus. Alabaster, To Charles Fort, With Love, and the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder were all released. As for a tally of all the short stories, novellas, and vignettes, well, it's not a short list, so I'm putting it behind a cut. I suppose, if nothing else, it proves I'm still productive in the face of adversity. Don't get me started on chapbooks:

December 2004—May 2008 )

* And I'm still wondering if the series' creators intentionally misquoted André Popp and Pierre Cour's 1967 song, which does not state that "love is blue" (though that's the title of the song), but that "my world is blue"?
greygirlbeast: (Sweeny1)
Listening to the new Dresden Dolls disc this morning, No, Virginia, an early birthday present yesterday from Spooky. I'm liking it quite a bit more than Yes, Virginia (2006), though I did like Yes, Virginia. Meanwhile, here in La Casa de Kiernan y Pollnac, all is chaos. Well, a very ordered sort of chaos. There are hundreds of boxes, I think. We spent the better part of yesterday packing paleontological and anatomical specimens. Skulls — Smilodon, Hoplophoneus, badger, fox, coyote, alligator and Nile crocodile, nutria, mink, otter, domestic cat, lynx, et al. — and trilobites and ammonites and casts of dinosaur teeth and a gar from the Green River Formation in Wyoming (Eocene) and a cast of a snake from the Messel bituminous shale of Germany (also Eocene) and a mosasaur humerus from the Pierre Shale (Late Cretaceous) of South Dakota, and so on, and so forth. Packing the books and the fossils are the worst of it. Spooky says we are "sooooooooo" close to having the house packed, and I can only hope that she's right.

I started work on the layout of Sirenia Digest #31, but didn't get as far as I should have. And today, today we must away to Burningspam, but should be back early this evening.

A reminder: the Stiff Kitten T-shirts are still on sale at Ziraxia. Just clicky-click the pretty image below for details:

Stiff Kitten


After all that packing, we had a short walk about Freedom Park, just as the sun was going down. It was beautiful out, but not yet late enough for the bats. There were swallows, though. I will miss Freedom Park. The tree that fell recently has been reduced to a stump, but Trees Atlanta has already planted two replacement saplings.

Back home, we watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). It's not as good a film as Raiders of the Lost Ark, but unlike Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, it is a good film. It's a logical sequel to the first film that doesn't dissolve into self parody. Sean Connery is delightful, and the father/son chemistry between him and Harrison Ford is spot on, just as I recalled. Alison Doody plays her quasi-villainess role quite well, and it's great seeing Dr. Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) and Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) again. There's a bittersweetness to the marvelous 1912 prologue, knowing that River Phoenix had only a few years left to live. Anyway, this film flows so seamlessly from Raiders that it's best and easiest to simply pretend that ToD was never filmed. I do sort of the same thing with the Star Wars films, which for me is a trilogy composed of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Revenge of the Sith (minus that silly and unnecessary Frankensteinesque bit with Vader at the end of RofS).

Also, read Chapter 6 ("Osborn, Man, and Nature") of the Henry Fairfield Osborn biography. And another chapter of the book I'm reviewing for Publisher's Weekly.

And today is World Biodiversity Day. Because who the fuck wants a planet composed of nothing but weed species. Thank you, They Might Be Giants:

King Weed.
King Weed.
That's what they would call us human beings.
King Weed.
King Weed.
But no one'll be around to disagree with me.
King Weed.

Roaches survived five extinctions before.
I guess they are good, but I don't know what for.

Dandelions can adapt and renew.
Seems like they grow best right under my shoe.

What about the adaptable and rugged housefly?
Their life is so lousy they're too tired to die.

Mice can survive another ice age intact.
A mouse can't survive a single night with my cat.

Now house cats, they're also right here on the list.
Good luck to a cat with no Kibbles 'n' Bits.

Sparrows will survive, in the sky they ascend.
If you like eating worms, then I guess you'll have friends.

Worms, oh yes worms, he said they'll be around.
And they're living like kings in their holes in the ground.


Er...now I must find coffee and clean clothes and glue myself together so my doctor is only appalled at my condition. Any visit to the doctor without forced hospitalization is a good visit, I say. Platypus!
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Here's my thing, as Laura Means would say. I fled Birmingham five and a half years ago. Being who and what I am, life in Birmingham had proven, after many, many years there, intolerable. Though, at the time I'd hoped to move to New England, financial considerations kept me from getting any farther away than Atlanta. And here we have been, Spooky and I, for five and a half years. Now, to the city's credit, I will say, that compared with Birmingham, I have personally experienced virtually none of the sort of bigotry and hate speech that drove me from Birmingham. Of course, I keep to an area bounded by Kirkwood to the south, Chamblee to the north, Decatur to the east, and downtown to the West. In truth, 95% of the time, I keep to a much smaller area, bounded by Little Five Points to the south, Inman Park to the west, Poncy-Highlands to the north, and Candler Park to the east. I know better than to stray outside the Perimeter. Atlanta is a blue island in a mean-spirited, xenophobic sea of red.

So, yes, Atlanta it is a peculiarly tolerant place. Somehow, however, the price of this tolerance is isolation. Admittedly, I am something of a recluse. But Spooky isn't, and Byron certainly isn't, and they have seen this, as well. Atlanta is not so much an unfriendly city as a supremely disinterested city. In truth, it hardly feels like a city at all (and I have spent time in many very large ones). As many have said before me, it feels more like a conglomeration of neighborhoods strewn willy-nilly across a vast tract of land. What is Atlanta like? I have no idea, and I've spent five and half years here. I don't think Atlanta knows what Atlanta's like, except it has something to do with trendy yuppie bars and restaurants, forgetting your past, making money, flipping real estate, hip-hop, and being as much like Los Angeles as possible. In the end, Atlanta, more than any other place I have ever been to or lived in, has no feeling to it at all. Only the absence of character seems to define it. I do not hate Atlanta, but I certainly could never love it. What would I love? The weather? It gives me an odd, sick feeling that after living here for five and a half years, I have no reservations whatsoever about leaving. Mostly, it feels like it will be this blank space in my life, five and a half years of blankness. Atlanta baffles me.

Next thing, "New Rules."
1) Please, please do not report to me that a very famous author with whom I share several acquaintances is dead unless he or she or it actually is. Dead, I mean. At least be able to link to an article online proving this to be the case.
2) Sirenia Digest is not open to unsolicited submissions. I'm pretty sure I've never said that it is, but if I did, I now retract that comment. Unsolicited mss. will not be returned or acknowledged.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,151 words on a new piece for Sirenia Digest #31, hoping to get a little ways ahead. It's a werewolf story, and was suggested to me by [livejournal.com profile] tsarina, a while back when I was asking for ideas for vignettes/stories. Thank you, and I'll get the book in the mail to you as soon as we can unpack them again. There is a very good runner-up, who will likely also get a book, as I may use her idea for #32.

You can now hear Chris Ewen and Malena Teves' cover of the Death's Little Sister song "Twelve Nights After" at the Hidden Variable page at MySpace. It's very strange listening to this version. I adore it, but it could not be more different from the DLS version, which was all growling, angry vocals and rumbling guitars. You can also hear four other songs from Chris' forthcoming CD, The Hidden Variable, including the track Peter Straub wrote, "Rosemary Clooney." You may know Chris' work from Future Bible Heroes.

Also, I have been told that the kindly, busy aliens at Ziraxia are now offering the Stiff Kitten T-shirt on Hyperspecial, for a mere $12.99. The sale runs all week, and after that the price goes back to $16.99. Just follow the link below:

Stiff Kitten


Today is Jimmy Stewart's birthday.

A so-so day yesterday. The move is beginning to wear on me, I think. The packing. The disorder. The fact that we have but nine days remaining (counting today), until the movers pull up at our doorstep. And Thursday must be wasted on another trip to Birmingham for another doctor's visit. Oh, and the damned doxycycline is wearing on me, as well. So, yeah, stress. Last night we watched two more episodes of Millennium ("Siren" and "In Arcadia Ego"), and then I ran away to Second Life for a bit. Thank you Larissa, Pontifex, and Omega. That was yesterday. This is today.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Cleaning my office, packing, I came across an invitation to the 70th anniversary of the opening of the Lynn-Henley Building of the Birmingham Public Library (which, at the time, was the Birmingham Public Library). This is the same building I visited on Tuesday and spoke of in my first entry on Thursday, the reading room with the Ezra Winter murals. Anyway, so I found an invitation to the 70th anniversary, April 7th, 2002. The building was opened to the public in 1932. My Grandmother Ramey was 17 years old. The US President was Herbert Hoover. Amelia Earhart flew from the US to Ireland in 14 hours and 54 minutes. Anyway, here's a contemporary illustration of the library, the one from the invitation:



Also, there was a somewhat odd list on Yahoo today, "The Good, the Bad, and the Slimy: 20 Great Movie Creatures." Some of these truly are iconic movie creatures — Kong, Giger's Alien, Jabba the Hutt, Godzilla, Oz's flying monkeys, Harryhausen's skeletons, Gollum, and heck, maybe even the magnificently erotic Davey Jones. A couple may, in time, prove to be iconic — the "Pale Man" from Pan's Labyrinth and the creature from The Host. But the list, as a whole, shows too much of what paleontologists call "the pull of the recent." That is, it's top-loaded with creatures from very recent films. In a list of 20 films spanning 1933-2008, 75 years, fully 50% of the list is derived from films released in the last six years! Even admitting that advances in CGI and SFX make-up are giving us many marvelous new monsters these days, this is baloney. Where's Lugosi's Dracula, Karloff's incarnation of Frankenstein's creature, Gort, or the "gill man" from the Black Lagoon? All of these are clearly more iconic, and far more deserving than some of those who made the list. The "ultra-cute baby Loch Ness monster" from The Water Horse? Not. Kraecher from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix? Wrong. The gelflings from The Dark Crystal. Nope (though you might make a case for the Skeksis). Saphria from the godsawful Eragon? That's a joke, right? You want a dragon, then choose Vermithrax Pejorative from Dragonslayer or Maleficent's draconic incarnation from Disney's classic Sleeping Beauty. Sheesh, people. Someone needs to look up the word "icon" in a dictionary and try again.

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May. 15th, 2008 10:36 am
greygirlbeast: (white)
So, Spooky called my doctor yesterday, about the tick. And my doctor immediately prescribed a ten-day regimen of doxycycline (one of of the tetracycline antibiotics), as a preventative measure, just in case the Lone Star tick in question was carrying one of the four rather nasty diseases for which they can act as vectors. But, on the other hand, my doctor is a little overzealous with antibiotics, and I've not been on any antibiotic, by choice, since August 2002 (when I needed them for an infected spider bite on my leg). But. I will take the doxycycline, though my instincts tell me not to, because I don't want to risk Alabama getting in the last laugh by rendering me sick all summer with some vermin-borne illness. By the way, the tick in question now floats in a specimen jar of alcohol on my desk. She's a rather fascinating little thing.

Yesterday, we read over what I've written on Chapter One of The Red Tree, again. Recall, we just did this on Sunday. But I wanted to be sure I have the narrator (Sarah Crowe) solidly in my head. With luck, I can finish Chapter One and maybe even toss in a vignette for Sirenia Digest sometime between now and next Wednesday. That will be my last normal "work day," the 21st, before the move (14 days remaining). We also did a lot of packing yesterday. I lost track of how many boxes of books. The new battery for my iBook arrived via the post.

I've been asked to write a "signature review" (one with my name on it) for Publisher's Weekly, though I cannot yet identify the novel or the author. I even get paid. This was one of those things I really didn't have time to take on just now, but I did, anyway.

As promised yesterday, behind the cut are photos that Spooky took on Tuesday of the Ezra Winter murals at the Birmingham Public Library. They are a far sight better than the ones that the Library has online (the link above). Ezra Winter was born in Manistee, Michigan in 1886, and was educated at Olivet College and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He also studied at the Prix de Rome and the American Academy in Rome. After returning to the US, Winter began a successful career as a muralist, and did work in Manhattan, Chicago, and Washington, DC (his studio was in New York City). In "the early 1920s," the Birmingham Public Library commissioned him to do the murals for the main reading room of their (then) newly constructed library building, depicting various figures from literature and history. They're oil on canvas, fixed to the walls with white lead. Winter was present for the mounting of the paintings. I first saw the murals sometime around 1975. Back then, they were sooty and in bad shape, but were cleaned and restored in the 1980s. Anyway, the photos:

Ezra Winter and the Birmingham Public Library )


Last night, Spooky made a big pot of chili, and after dinner we watched two more episodes from Season Two of Millennium — "Midnight of the Century" and "Goodbye Charlie." It was cool seeing the late Darren McGavin as Frank's father in the former, as McGavin also appeared twice on The X-Files, as agent Arthur Dales. Anyway, then I worked on the Palaeozoic Museum in New Babbage, mostly on the wall in the Great Hall devoted the pterosaurs (Dimorphodon, Pterodactylus, Rhamphorhynchus, and Pteranodon) and fossil birds (Hesperornis and Archaeopteryx). And I think I was in bed sometime after two ayem, and Spooky read to me from House of Leaves until about three ayem. I was up at 9:30, because I'm trying to get on an earlier schedule, even if it means I slept only about six hours. Truly, I've already cut back on Second Life, and will be doing so even more in the end of May. The move, my health, and far too many deadlines.

And this is the very last time I'll post a link to the Amazon wish list thing before birthday -04, though we are only halfway through the Royal Birthday Month. And my thanks for all the comments yesterday. They help, these days, and I don't know that we've had that many for one entry in quite sometime. I should include nasty x-rays of my teeth more often.

350.org.
greygirlbeast: (chi2)
I am a very lucky nixar. No gaping, bloody wound in my head. My dentist is wise and merciful, and I was allowed to keep that right second upper molar. It seems the discomfort was arising from a problem caused by upper and lowers no longer occluding properly (because of the work done on the cracked tooth in February). A little grinding (not even the indignity of Novacaine, thank the gods) Still, she gave me Lortab and penicillin scripts, just in case something should go wrong in there before I find a new dentist in Providence. She's been my dentist since March 2000, and it was an oddly bittersweet parting. Anyway, don't ever say that I've never given you a glimpse of true horror, because if you look behind the cut, you'll find x-rays of my frelled-up mouth:

You've been warned )


After the dentist, enormously relieved and not low on blood, we dropped by the storage unit to see just how annoying moving everything out of it will be on May 27th. Not too bad. And then we went to the Birmingham Public Library, and I sat beneath the beautiful old murals in the Linn-Henley wing. That part of the library appears in Threshold, and it's on that very short list of things I will miss about the South. Truthfully, in an alternate-world Alabama with an entirely different cultural and political climate, I could probably have lived my whole life in Birmingham. Anyway, Spooky took some photos, and I'll put them up tomorrow, after she's had time to edit them. Today, you just get gnarly teeth. We saw an assortment of flattened and living fauna along I-20: crows, buzzards, deer, armadillos, dogs, a hawk. At the rest stop just across the Alabama state line, we spotted a large (probably female) Broad-headed skink (Eumeces laticeps). Spooky tried to get a photo, but the lizard did not cooperate. Alas. After the library, we stopped by my Mother's house in Leeds, and spent a couple of hours there, just talking. She's coming up to Providence to visit in the autumn.

I suppose, now that there is not unsightly recovery to endure, I shall be trying to finish up Chapter One of The Red Tree, beginning today. I need to have that done, and also Issue No. 30 of Sirenia Digest by Wednesday, the 21st, at the latest. Not only will the packing schedule become so hectic by then that there's no way I can even hope to work, but, also, I have to go back to Birmingham next week, to see my regular doctor one last time before the move (and she's been my doctor since 1990).

Last night, after finally getting back to Atlanta about 9 pm and grabbing some Thai food for dinner, we watched two episodes from Season Two of Millennium ("The Hand of St. Sebastian" and the hilariously wonderful "Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense", the latter with Charles Nelson Riley). Oh, and discovered a tick latched onto my left hip. No idea where I picked the little fucker up. Maybe at my mother's (rural location plus dog), maybe at the rest stop earlier. She was a female Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum), and was surprisingly painful when Spooky removed her. The blasted thing had apparently been on my clothing for some time, had only just bitten, and hadn't yet started to feed (no blood), or had fed only a very little. We dropped the tick in a jar of alcohol (70%), where she survived for a hour. Spooky's calling my doctor about it today, just in case she wants me to take any precautions beyond those we have taken already. And, please, no oogy tick-borne disease related stories. Thank you.

Later, I tried to work on the Palaeozoic Museum (New Babbage, Second Life), but the damned asset server was on the fritz again, so that didn't happen. I did make quite a lot of progress on it Monday. Oh, yeah. Monday. On Monday, I worked on the Museum, we got dinner from the Vortex at Little Five Points, and watched two episodes of Farscape ("Home on the Remains" and "A Constellation of Doubt"). I went back to the biography of Henry Fairfield Osborn, which I hope to finish before the move. That was Monday. Huzzah.

Also, I should repost the link to 350.org.

Is it just me, or are these entries getting far too long winded? At any rate, only 13 days remaining to the dread birthday -04. Blegh. But my Amazon wish list is here, if you are so inclined.

Oh, and since this entry has gone on Way Too Long, I may as well mention how I've been complaining about the sudden proliferation of needless contractions, because people simply can't be bothered. Sure. It's not really anything new. Nabisco stopped being the National Biscuit Company back in the early sixties, but, lately, it seems like this is happening everywhere. National Geographic as NatGeo?! The Biography Channel as Bio? I wonder how many people still remember that WB stands for Warner Brothers, or that KFC stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken, or that iHop is shortened from the International House of Pancakes? But the one that really tears it for me, that set off a rant last night, was seeing Scarlett Johansson called "ScarJo." What the holy fuck?! Okay, sure. First we had JLo, but that was just Jennifer Lopez, so who really cares? Not only is Scarlett Johansson a fine actress (The Black Dahlia not withstanding), she has a cool name, so why ruin it with a silly contraction like "ScarJo"? It is beyond me, these things that people do. Maybe I would be a more popular writer if I went by CaitKier. Or just CRK. Regardless, I am looking forward to hearing her album of Tom Waits covers. And now the platypus says if I don't stop and drink some coffee, sheheit's going to start gnawing my ankles.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Ah, to wake in my own bed in my own room and to a day with no tornadoes and no slack-jawed, staring rednecks. Truly, 35% of what I find offensive about Alabamians (and Georgians and lots of others people) would be eliminated if only someone out there could teach the rednecks not to stare in slack-jawed, beady-eyed, unabashed contempt at those of whom they disapprove or simply cannot comprehend. This is not a stare of wonder, not the stare I might stare when first looking upon a new species of neoceratopsian or the latest batch of photos from Mars. This is an intensely hateful gaze meant to intimidate, a gaze that bespeaks a certain odd sense of entitlement, as though the slack-jawed, beady-eyed rednecks have paid someone for the right to stare. They have not paid me.

And the optical gnomes have not yet returned my lost glasses. Damn gnomes. Just call me Squinty J. Kiernan.

Someone, I can't recall who, asked last week if the reason for the trip to Alafrellingbama was too personal to talk about. At the time, I sort of felt it was and didn't answer. But now I will, but with a proviso. I do not make a habit of discussing my health problems here. It's just not something I feel comfortable doing. However, the reason I went to Alafrellingbama has a lot to do with why I have not made any sort of public appearance since Fiddler's Green (Minneapolis, November '04), so I have decided it is not out of place here. I likely will not mention this again, though.

Anyway, I have always had difficult feet. For my height, they are much too small, too short, with uncommonly high arches. My doctor says to blame my Japanese heritage (she says that sort of thing all the goddamn time). In the winter of '03-'04, I began to have peculiar sensations in both my feet, and soon thereafter severe shooting, stabbing pains radiating out from the balls of my feet along my big toe and my second toe. This went on through the summer of '04, and in October '04, the pain was replaced by numbness and tingling, swelling, then more pain, and so forth. By the winter of '04-'05, the condition worsened dramatically and for several months it was difficult to walk without a cane. Since then, my feet have been very, very gradually improving. But I have weeks that are so bad I want to just give up and buy a goddamn wheelchair. Always have I been a moderately to very active person, and I often prided myself on moving with a certian grace borne of years of dancing and rock climbing. However, this condition has made me clumsy and inactive. I have spent the last couple of years trying to treat it myself, with mixed results. My doctor believes, as do Spooky and I, that is tarsal tunnel syndrome, though I have so far declined the somewhat invasive (and expensive) tests that would determine if this is, indeed, the correct diagnosis. Very few people were told of this problem — my mom, my lit agent, Neil, Poppy, Sonya, Byron, Jim and "Hannah," Spooky's parents. That's about it. So, that is why I had to go to Birmingham, and why I have made no public appearances since 2004 (I have sometimes offered other excuses), and why I talk so often about taking walks (as the walks are part of my physical therapy, though more for the rest of my body than my feet). Now, having said all this, I would ask that readers please, please, please refrain from offering their own diagnoses and/or suggested treatments. Though I know you'd mean well, I would only find such things very annoying and ignore them. I am in more than capable hands, and slowly it would seem I am getting better.

I thought I'd post some photographs from Wednesday, tornado day. Late in the afternoon, I became fidgety, having been cooped up in my Mom's house all day waiting for twisters to descend upon us, and finally I talked Spooky into a drive through Leeds, the town where I spent most of my childhood. We drove by the high school (one of two I attended), but it had been evacuated because of the tornadic threat. I looked around, even opened a door and peered inside. There was that intensely eerie feeling of backwards time-travel I get when visiting places where I once spent so much of my life, but have not seen in many years. I was last at Leeds High School in May or June of 1980, I believe. So, this was really my first time back — discounting a couple of drive-bys — in twenty seven years! I was only sixteen the last time I set foot in that school. And yet it has changed in no way that I could discern, which only added to the eeriness. Had the place not been all but deserted, I might have summoned the courage to visit a couple of teachers, and wouldn't that have been surreal? Anyway, photos behind the cut, eleven of them, most by me. There's also an old cemetery I took Spooky to see, and a couple of our storage unit in Birmingham.

March 1-2 2007 )


I need to go catch up on my e-mail, but I do want to thank Pat Hawkes-Reed ([livejournal.com profile] girfan) for sending me the marvelous UK "Lesser Octopus" stamp (as well as the accompanying postcard set). I just got the package this ayem. I love getting mail from England. Also, I wanted to mention that Cemetery Dance Publications now appears, at long last, to be taking preorders for Thrillers 2, the anthology which includes two longish short stories by me — "The Daughter of the Four of Pentacles" and "Houses Under the Sea." Both these stories were written way back in the spring of 2003, and Sirenia Digest readers should note that the story Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) and I wrote together, "In the Praying Windows," is a sort of sequel to "Houses Under the Sea." "The Daughter of the Four of Pentacles" is a prequel to Daughter of Hounds. Unless I miss my guess, John Myroshnychenko's cover painting for Thrillers 2 is also an illustration from "Houses Under the Sea." Thanks to Robert Morrish for the heads-up. Finally, we still have a copy of The Five of Cups on eBay, and Spooky will be adding more items soon.

Postscript (3:28 p.m. CaST) — Byron just called to say that it wasn't optical gnomes. He stole my glasses. They will be listed on eBay, says he, as the "Magickal Write Like Caitlín Kiernan Spectacles." Only 80 bazillion dollahs. I think he also stole shampoo and toilet paper. So, the gnomes are off the hook. For now...
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Here I am, once again safely ensconced well ITP, and it really wasn't such a bad trip to Alafrellingbama, all in all, except I seem to have lost my stupid glasses. We have retrieved Hubero from kitty gaol, and he is only a little bitter. Later, tomorrow, there will be an actual entry with photos and everything. Right now, though, I'm gonna go lie down and have whatever sort of Kid Night we can scrape together.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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