greygirlbeast: (river3)
Very cold in Providence today; my feet are spun glass.

Most of yesterday was a good day. I only managed about 500 words on "The Lost Language of Littoral Mollusca and Crustacea," because I realized it was a lot longer and a lot more complicated than I expected. Not the sort of thing you can do in a day, but maybe over the course of a week. Maybe. But it was still a good day. Spooky came back from the p. o. box with a letter from Harlan, the Coolest T-Shirt Ever® (see the photos behind the cut), and Solstice gifts from my mother. I saw Brian's final cut for the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. It's truly gorgeous, light-fucking-years beyond what I expect from book trailers, and I wish I could show it to you now. There was a spaghetti for supper, a favorite, because, when it comes to food, I'm pretty easy to please.

And then, early last night, it all went to hell, and it did so violently, a shitstorm to lay any good day low. I'm I'm still not on an even keel. I think it was very after six ayem before I got to sleep. Like maybe six-thirty, but I honestly have no fucking idea, and it probably doesn't matter. I read stuff, like a Peter Crowther short story, "Ghosts With Teeth." Mostly, I sat in the smoking crater that was the night, and tried not to think, and the harder I tried not to, the more I did. So, five and a half hours sleep? Possibly six? I can't even call it insomnia.

So, Two Worlds and In Between keeps making these "best of" lists. Seriously, it seems like it makes a new one each day. Yesterday, it was an article at io9, "Recent Science Fiction and Fantasy Books that Make Perfect Gifts" (at least io9 knows how to capitalize a headline). The ironic thing, though, is that the book is, essentially, out of print, and will likely remain so for a while to come. Subterranean Press is sold out. Amazon.com claims to have a few copies (and I stress a few), but I wouldn't trust them as a source for this book, not after they fucked so many people over on the preorder. Better you try AbeBooks or Powell's, both of whom have it in stock, I believe. Point is, it's not like you can't get the book, just that it's quickly getting very hard and expensive to get the book. Which seems ironic. Or maybe I ought take that as a compliment. And yeah, my agent's working in selling another edition (and foreign language rights), but that's something far down the road, if it ever happens at all.

Also, while I very much appreciate receiving gifts, please don't send me ebooks. I didn't even know you could do that, give someone an ebook, until someone did try to give me one, and I got this download coupon thingy from Amazon. For a Kindle. Of course, anyone who reads this journal knows I loathe ebooks on principle, and I do not now (nor ever shall I) own a Kindle. So, while I also know that ebooks are almost as cheap as the air they're printed on, it's probably best not to waste your money on something I'll never see. Or even want to ever see.

As we approach the release of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and the first issue of Alabaster, which is to say March and April, respectively, I'm planning public appearances. Yeah, I haven't made a habit of that, but now I have to. There are a lot of plans, but here are the only two "for sure" dates (times TBA, and more to come, mostly nestled between March 6th and sometime in June):

April 4: North Kingstown Free Public Library, Rhode Island Voices series (reading/talk)
April 18: KGB Bar (Manhattan), Fantastic Fiction series (reading)

And here are the T-shirt photos, which I'm going to trying to believe are all that there was to yesterday (I love my expression of innocence, displaying my ignorance of what was soon to come). Well, it and the finished book trailer:

Versus )


By the way, if there are typos in the entry, all I can say is you're lucky there's any entry at all.
greygirlbeast: (river3)
Don't forget, kittens, today is Krampus Day. Behave accordingly.

Bodies, can't you see what everybody wants from you?
If you could want that, too, then you'll be happy.
~ St. Vincent, "Cruel"

Yesterday, I wrote 1,241 words and so began "Another Tale of Two Cities" for Sirenia Digest. I'm hoping very much that it will be finished on the evening of the 7th, at the latest. It might be called science fiction, but I'd rather just call it weird erotica. And speaking of the evening of the 7th, I'm very much hoping to see more replies to the Question @ Hand #5 by then.

Last week, I stopped myself from buying an iPhone, though I seem to need one. In part, I stopped myself out of fear of another wave of "buyer's remorse," such as experienced recently, immediately after purchasing Kermit the iPad. Which I seemed to need for work. Since that purchase, by the way, I have found about fifty wonderful uses for Kermit the iPad...but not a single one of them has been work related*. Sure, endless mobile Japanese porn – no denying that rocks – but not exactly what my editors mean when they speak of "increased connectivity." In the Elder Days, by the way, we just said "easier to contact." Anyway, I didn't buy the iPhone, because (even though my cellphone is a pile of bantha dung), near as I can tell the iPhone and the iPad do exactly the same thing. Only, the iPhone has a vastly smaller screen and keys (and the virtual keys on my iPad are already too small for my admittedly large fingers), and I'll be damned if I can figure out a single useful thing the iPhone does that Kermit the iPad doesn't already do. Well, except make phone calls. And I hate making, and receiving, phone calls. Besides, technically, the iPad does permit video calls, all Jetson-like, using either FaceTime or Skype. Of course, the thought of a video call terrifies me beyond words. It's bad enough that callers can hear me. Let them see me, too? Anyway, point is, other than the fact that the iPhone is much smaller, and therefore even more mobile...why bother? And, by the way, you know, I hope, that all this increased connectivity nonsense, it's nothing but a) a means for the CIA, NSA, BTFA, DHS, and aliens from Planet X to keep track of you, and b) is being sold to us so that we never have a moment free of the grinding machine of capitalism (yes, excessive socialization aids and abets the agenda of the New World Order).

Damn, that's a long paragraph.

Probably, I ought to stop now. Only, I'll first point out that – following this thread – ebooks do the same thing as books, only not as well, and the ones you buy today will PROBABLY be inaccessible in a few years, and you can't donate them to libraries, or leave them to anyone. Meanwhile, my hard copies might well be accessible five hundred years from now, and can be bequeathed to loved ones. However, "we" are increasingly a selfish and short-sighted species (this makes my life easier = this is good), now more than ever before, so none of this is relevant. But I'm beating a dead horse. Whack, whack, whack.

Staring at Kermit,
Aunt Beast

* Spooky says this is not true, as all of Blood Oranges was proofed on the iPad. I will qualify, and say that actually she only used it to read along while I read the hard-copy ms. aloud and made marks on it. Still, I suppose she has a point.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The Book has landed. Late yesterday afternoon, early yesterday evening, on my backdoor steps. It's a beautiful book, and I'm very happy with it, and can say that, in terms of "booksmithing" alone, it's of the most beautiful editions I've ever produced with Subterranean Press. And yet, it's sort of terrifyingly daunting to be 47 years old and looking at Volume 1 of the "Best of" your life's work. So, this book makes me want to hug it, but it also makes me want to run screaming, both at the same time. The second reaction, however, is of no concern to anyone but me, and if you've not bought a copy, it's still not too late (well except for the limited edition, and fuck, the art section looks good). I assume your copies should be arriving (unless you didn't order, in which case they won't).

I hope that as the mass-media & publishing industries, along with various associated symbiotes and parasites and whores, continue to play circle jerk with ebooks and reader thingies and whatnot, and pat themselves on the back for embracing the cold, soulless, plastic Brave New (& Ever So Much More Practical) World of the Insubstantial, that it makes way for a "booksmithing" renaissance. The disease could be the cure. I'll suffer Kindles and Nooks and Schnooks and whatever, as long as real books (which are more than pixel words on a screen, in sixteen shades of grey) survive and thrive, even if only in a marginalized niche. I embrace marginalization. It's all I've ever really known, anyway. Also, fuck the world's bullshit desire for convenience. Art is not meant to be convenient, any more than it is meant to be easy to create or interpret.

Anyway, yes. I am happy with Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me. In fact, I went to bed snuggling it, as you can see in this photo (Spooky says it looks like I'm eating it):


Photographs Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn A. Pollnac
Cover art Copyright © 2011 by Lee Moyer.


Work yesterday. But I can't tell you what. I cannot even hint. There was a long teleconference, but that's all I can say. Next.

In fact, all of yesterday pales in comparison to the arrival of The Book, so...there's not much else to say.

Tomorrow, noonish, Spooky and I will be picking up a gaggle of folks at the train station in Providence, and the next three days will be spent filming (and right after that, I'm supposed to be in Northampton, Massachusetts...Tuesday, maybe) and photographing and such, from one end of Rhode Island to the other, getting material for [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's series of still photos based on The Drowning Girl and material for the book trailer, which is being shot by Brian Siano. There will be reports all weekend, in theory, behind the scenes nonsense, if I have the time. I know Kyle will be tweeting and whatnot, using all that newfangled gadgetry the kiddos are so proud of these days. It's going to be an intensely weird three days, and we'll be having thunderstorms on at least the first of those days...which sucks. But there you go.

Sucking As She Goes,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Because I really didn't want to title this Readercon 22 (III), and I've just awakened from a nap of cataclysmic proportions, despite having slept in the broiling car on the way back from Burlington to Providence. If title must be explained, that's why. I am home, with another Shirley Jackson Award stone to sit upon my shelf. But what matters is I am home.

Shirley Jackson understood the importance of coming home. Eleanor and Merricat, they knew how precious is home.

Still, it was good to see so many people I so rarely get to see, those other authors, those editors and publishers, those others who are dear to me and whom I so very rarely ever get to see. You know who you are. That said, I am no person for crowds. Likely as not, I could go many more months and never find myself in another crowd of human beings and be pleased. I am exhausted, and I need to be alone, just me and Spooky, and, occasionally, the visitation of a friend or two.

I was good this year, and bought only three books: two used hardbacks – Herbert's God Emperor of Dune and LeGuin's The Compass Rose: Short Stories – along with a copy of Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners. Even so, and even though we were frugal, the cost of the con (I kept a careful tally), came to $606.49. My thanks to Stephen Lubold and Cliff Miller, without whose generosity we couldn't have attended.

Though I did three panels this year, I'm fairly certain the first and the third (this afternoon) were precisely the same panel. Certainly, we said most of the same things this afternoon that were said on Friday.

Regardless, I am home, where there is no AC, and only two bearable rooms (and I am not writing this from either of them). I am facing a mountain of work that should have been done two weeks ago, and which must be done despite the heat. The weathermen say this coming week will be the hottest of the summer for us. But, even so, I'm glad to be home.

Here again,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (new newest chi)
Cold here. Very, very cold. Cold and sunny.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,280 words and found THE END of Chapter Three of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The words spill from me in an almost alarming torrent. Since November 18th, I've written ~31,060 words of fiction, amounting to "The Prayer of Ninety Cats" and chapters Two and Three of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Those two chapters, whose combined word count totals 19,218 words, have been written since December 5th. I know writers who write more than this. However, most of them write in drafts. I expect myself to produce a polished "final draft" the first time through (and, generally, I do). Regardless, I usually write a lot, but not this much.

And I'm exhausted.

No wonder, then, that my reclusiveness is likely worse that it's ever been. The last time I left the House was December 7th, but it was only for a couple of hours to run errands with Spooky. As of today, I've not been Outside for ten days. Before the 7th, I'd not be Out since November 24th, another trip to the market. Thirteen days before the 7th of December, and then ten afterward. Which means I've only been Outside about two hours in the last twenty-four days.

I'm not even sure what to make of this, except I have no wish to be this way. Today, I'm leaving the House, though I have no idea where I'll go. It can't be near the Xmas insanity.

---

Good news yesterday from Dark Horse, which I'll share as soon as I am able.

---

Spooky is watching a video online about white deer, albino deer...

Last night, Shaharrazad and Suraa made Level 81. Weird to be leveling again, even if it won't last long.

I think that's enough for now. Spooky's going to trim my hair, and I'm going to spend some time squinting at the sun.
greygirlbeast: (Humanoid)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,728 words on Chapter Two of The Drowning Girl (which may, on it's title page, bear the parenthetical subtitle "Or, The Wolf Who Cried Girl"). What a strange, strange book I'm writing. I don't mean the characters, or the subject matter. Sure, those things are strange. Of course they are. But what I mean is that the nature of the narrative itself is truly very odd. But I'm happy with it, and this is what matters.

I'd love to hear some more feedback today on "The Prayer of Ninety Cats," and thanks to all who've said something already.

Congratulations to Steven Lubold, the high bidder on the Dancy Box, congratulations and thank you. The box went for about three times what I was hoping, so I'm both surprised and pleased.

I did manage to get out of the House yesterday. So, no setting or breaking records for me just now, thank you. The printer was out of ink, and I was almost out of paper, so we went to Staples. I had no idea you could get underwater digital cameras so cheaply. I saw a couple at Staples, and I'm sort of hoping someone gets me one for my next birthday, so I can take photos below the surface of the sea. Anyway, after Staples, we stopped by the market for stuff (noodles, sardines, Tiger Balm patches, milk), then headed home again. Not an exciting excursion, but better than none at all.

We recluses take our jaunts where and when we can.

Of course, yesterday was mostly about WoW, as the expansion went live yesterday. UPS brought mine and Spooky's copies sometime just after 4 p.m. (CaST; and thank you, benefactor), and after the trip Outside, we rolled our goblins and proceeded to play our fool brains out. I rolled a goblin warlock named Hobsprocket, and Spooky rolled a goblin priest named Hobnutter, so we're the Hob sisters. We proceeded to make thirteen levels in eight hours, which is the quickest we've ever leveled toons. But it was a hoot. As [livejournal.com profile] scarletboi said last night, the goblin starting area is a lot like a Disney World ride. Then, once the island of Kezan blows and the goblins flee to the Lost Isles (with a wonderful cinematic in between), the tone shifts. Sort of Final Fantasy meets Super Mario Brothers. But in a good way. And finally, after the battle on the beachhead below the Warchief's Lookout, when we wound up in Orgrimmar again, it just felt like WoW. But eight hours was about four hours too long to play, and I have a bit of an Azeroth hangover today. There are two screencaps behind the cut, taken at Thrall's camp:

Golbinocalypse! )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
I should make this short and quick, but I probably won't make it either one. [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark is coming to visit this evening, and I have things to get done beforehand. This will be the first company and the first face-to-face contact with someone, other than Spooky, that I've had since the first week of October, I think. I don't do this on purpose, the reclusive thing. Mostly, it just happens. Usually, I don't notice until after its happened.

Yesterday, work for Dark Horse (details TBA), and more work on Two Worlds and In Between. Tying up lose ends. Tomorrow or Sunday, I'll be going back to work on The Drowning Girl. I'll be going into "novel hiding." Significant progress will be made in December.

The Dancy Box auction continues to amaze me and make me grateful. Thank you, bidders. Not only will the income be greatly appreciate, but Spooky and I both put a lot into the project, and it's good to see it so well received.

---

Yesterday, I stumbled across a review of The Ammonite Violin & Others, at SFRevu, that I'd not seen before. It is, generally, a very, very positive review, and I should note that up front. However, it contains one very odd bit that I've been mulling over ever since I read it. Mario Guslandi (I'm pretty sure this isn't the first time he's baffled me with a review) writes: "Some stories are simply beautiful, others tedious and smug to such an extent to make it irritating and almost unbearable to read them."

I'll ignore "irritating," though it's certainly vague, and Guslandi makes no attempt to explain himself. But "smug"? Really? Smug as in "Exhibiting or feeling great or offensive satisfaction with oneself or with one's situation; self-righteously complacent"? Does he mean that the author comes across as smug, or that the stories in question do? Or the characters in those stories? I admit I am utterly perplexed at the comment. If anyone out there can point me to a smug story in The Ammonite Violin & Others, I'd be thankful.

Oh, wait. I knew that name was familiar (thank you, Google). Guslandi's the same guy who reviewed To Charles Fort, With Love and declared, "One can seldom find an author capable of either delighting or boring her readers with the same ease as Catlin Kiernan..."

Smug. Smug stories. I admit, it's an interesting concept, whatever it might mean.

---

Last night, we watched Jamin Winans' Ink (2009). The dvd was a gift from Jennifer Szczublewski. At least, I think it was. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, wow. What a superb, beautiful, disarming film. A triumph of indie fantasy film making. Winans wrote the screenplay, directed and edited the film, composed its original score (especially stunning), and co-produced Ink with his wife, Kiowa K. Winans, and an assistant producer, Laura Wright –all on a shoestring budget. The acting is a little wobbly here and there, but I really have no other complaint, and that one pales in comparison to the whole. This is a fairy tale. A children's story told for adults, a thing that has always fascinated me. It's filled with moments of pure magic, and some genuinely terrifying imagery. You need to see this film. I note that you can currently stream it from Netflix for free. Do so. Ink is no end of marvelous.

Later, we played WoW, leveling our orcs, Gárona and Margdah, to 29.5 or so. And after that, Spooky read to me from [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's The Poison Eaters and Other Stories. We made it through three of the tales— "The Coldest Girl in Cold Town," "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," and the title story. "The Coldest Girl in Cold Town" is one of those very rare things, a vampire story that actually has emotional depth and something to say. Loved it, and almost wish it had been Chapter One of a novel. And "The Poison Eaters" manages an exquisite marriage of beauty, revenge, murder, and the grotesque.

---

I took a lot of random photos yesterday. I carried one of the cameras around with me, and just took a photo whenever the mood struck me. I got the idea from "A Day in the Life". Anyway, here are the results (there's a whole lot of grainy, because I didn't want to use the flash):

2 December 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
As I have said in the past, I do not recognize Veteran's Day. Rather, I recognize Armistice Day. This is not just a streak of contrariness. See Kurt Vonnegut for my rationale.

A sunny day here in Providence. Sunny, but cold.

Nothing was written, though there was a lot of talking about the story I was trying to write. In the end, I've decided to put "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars" back on the shelf, and write a somewhat different Martian story. Truthfully, I think I'm not a good enough writer (yet, and maybe I never will be) to pull off what I wanted to accomplish in "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars." If the best I can do is a half-assed job, better I do no job at all. Some will disagree, but in the realm in which my stories are written, I am the sole goddess. So, I have this other story, that I need to make serious progress on. I haven't written anything since finishing Chapter One of The Drowning Girl on Sunday.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thank you.

I feel as though I have forgotten how to sleep. Last night, Spooky was reading me Kelly Link's "Magic for Beginners," and Hubero came into the bedroom and proceeded to lay on my face and purr. It was all I could do to stay awake. As soon as Spooky finished reading the story, I was instantly and completely awake. Story ideas racing through my mind. (Do not try to solve this problem; this problem is seemingly insoluble, and certainly resistant to any simple remedies). I took Ambien for the first time in months. I slept something like six and a half hours, which is good, the way things have been going. As for "Magic for Beginners," I loved it. The whole thing with The Library made me think of the best sort of bizarre and whimsical television fantasy: Doctor Who, Farscape, etc. The characterization in this story's especially poignant. It has all the awkward innocence and too-often unsuspected depth of youth.

There was an amazing sunset last night. The sky in conflagration. There are photos below, behind the cut. And Spooky went to the Knight Memorial Library on Elmwood Avenue to see Kristin Hersh read from Rat Girl and sing. I wanted to go, but knew I shouldn't. When we first saw a flier for the reading taped to the door of What Cheer, I said, "No, I can't go." Crowds just freak me out too much these days. Crowds and fluorescent lights. Spooky got home about 9:30 p.m., and she said "It's a good thing you didn't come. There were too many people, and fluorescent lights. But she sang 'Fish' and 'Your Ghost,' and read about Fish Jesus, and talked about Betty Hutton." Which made me sorry I'd not gone, despite the fluorescent lights. Again, photos below, behind the cut.

You know, I wouldn't be so annoyed at how WoW and CoX and pretty much all MMORPGs force socialization on their players if there were only a good, Mac-friendly MMORPG that took into account those players who just want to solo. Sure, I enjoy being part of a VG in CoX, put sometimes it would be nice to have the option of going it alone.

I have, in fact, begun to wonder if loners are being systematically weeded out of the population, culled from the world. At least in America. Can loners survive in a world of texting, twatting, and virtual social networking, where you can be alone with a thousand other loners? Where words like "shy" and "introvert" are being replaced by psychological disorders (highly suspect psychological disorders, mostly manufactured by pharmaceutical companies that can then manufacture cures to treat them) like SAD (social anxiety disorder) and AvPD (avoidant personality disorder)? You would think we loners posed a threat. I'd say it's a fear we slow production, but America's no longer about production. We outsourced all that, and now we're a nation of consumers. Maybe there's a belief that people in groups consume more than loners. I see far too little emphasis on individual effort and accomplishment, and far too much focus on teamwork. But I ask, why be a cog, when you can be a whole machine, entire and realized?

Six acronyms in only two paragraphs. But, I prattle on.

Gotta write. Here are the photos:

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

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

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

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

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

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

That seems to be everything for now.
greygirlbeast: (cullom)
And here it is, seventeen years to the day that I began writing Silk. I was living alone in an apartment on Sixteenth Avenue South in Birmingham, Alabama. I only recall that it was a sunny, cold autumn day. I think what amazes me even more than all the time that has passed since that day is the fact that the book has now been in print for more than twelve years (it took five years to write Silk and then find a publisher). Anyway, since no one suggested a contest, I'll be giving away a signed and doodled in copy of the 4th edition mass-market paperback of the novel to someone who comments to the LJ today. I'll draw one of the names at random (and there's your incentive to comment).

Seventeen years ago, I'd hardly even been born.

---

Yesterday was an annoying sort of day. All thinking about writing, but no actual writing. I need to finish four or five stories by December 1st. One for an anthology and the rest for Sirenia Digest #s 59 and 60. So, I'm casting about for ideas. I think the first one, the one I mean to get to work on today, is called "There Are Kisses For Us All," which I actually began trying to write in December 2008, but set aside. I think maybe now I can actually write it.

I've not left the House since last Tuesday (October 5th), the day we returned from Portland. What is that, seven days? Six? I spoke with my psychiatrist about my reclusiveness, expecting her to be horrified. Instead, she only asked if it bothered me. I said no, that it didn't, and then she asked me that, in that case, why was I letting it worry me, that I shouldn't. That was an odd sort of relief, hearing her say that.

---

I will be doing a reading/signing at the Brown University Bookstore here in Providence on the evening of October 30th. I believe it's even going to be a costumed event. I'll probably read from The Ammonite Violin & Others. So, I hope some local people can make it out.

If you've not yet had a look at the "napovel," you may want to, along with the other eBay auctions. Also, Spooky's got Halloween stuff up in her Dreaming Squid Etsy shop, stuff she'll be taking down after Halloween. So please have a look. Thanks.

---

Last Monday night and Tuesday morning, after our flight was canceled and we were waiting sleeplessly for a 6:40 a.m. flight, we wandered the concourses and corridors of the sprawling Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, which was surprisingly interesting. One of the wonderful things we found was a display of bronze sculptures by an artist named Gareth Andrews. Most of them involved whaling: sperm whales, humpbacks, blue whales, bowheads, along with seals and sea lions. There was one fantastically surreal piece, Nine Muses in Boreas' Wood. It is almost impossible to describe, and was harder still for us to photograph. An amalgamation of totem poles and whale and raven and skeleton and men and beavers and deadfall...somehow the whole put me in mind of a Giger design for a wrecked starship, à la Alien. Gorgeous stuff. To quote the artist, "Great whales have always caused us to check our shadows." Spooky and I took photos, but they fail to do the work justice:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 5, Gareth Andrews )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The "best of" collection is coming together. I'm very happy to announce that pretty much all the artists on my wish list are now on board for the volume. The limited hardback edition (as opposed to the trade hardback edition) will have a bonus section, sixteen pages of reprinted illustrations that have accompanied my stories over the years. Artists include Richard A. Kirk, Vince Locke, Ryan Obermeyer, Ted Naifeh, and Dame Darcy. So, that's one more way this book is going to rock.

An utterly atrocious writing day yesterday, thanks to the insomnia of the night before. I barely managed 587 words. In light of all this not sleeping and not writing enough, I'm postponing my trip to NYC until October, after we return from Portland and the HPLFF.

Speaking of which, first off, if you're wanting to buy tickets to the festival, here's the link.

Secondly, gods, I'm exhausted. And I look it. The combined of effects of insomnia, several years of illness, and the meds I take for all that crap, have left me...brittle. And I have this fear that people will be going to the HPLFF expecting to see that person I was three years ago when I was interviewed for Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, or, worse yet, the person I am in the author's photo (taken in 2003) up on the HPLFF website. Yeah, I know it's silly and shallow and petty of me to worry about shit like this. Sure, I know. This is all meant to be about the writing, not about the writer's physical appearance. But it's one thing to know this, and another thing to feel this. Mostly, I feel terrified. I ceased being a "public" person years ago. I sit in my office and I write. Which is what writers do. Writers aren't supposed to be celebrities (as Kristin Hersh says in Rat Girl, "Fame is for dorks."), and we aren't supposed to worry about how we fucking look at public appearances. That mindset is anathema to being a writer. And yet, all I said about this dread is true. We are all victims of the beauty myth and the cult of youth, even when we have declared ourselves its worst enemy. I want to be read, not seen. That's the way it's supposed to work.

Last night, I resorted to the Seroquel, and slept about eight hours. I just couldn't go another night without sleep; I was all but insensible yesterday.

But before the Seroquel, there was very good rp in Insilico. I begin to fear Grendel Ishmene feels more like me than I feel like me. The ego and superego subsumed by the alter-ego. And Spooky and I did what felt like a metric shit-ton of battlefields on WoW, Alterac Valley over and over, because Alterac Valley was "Call to Arms" this weekend...and...you know. Goddamn geeky shit like that.

Anyway...fuck...I need to get to work. But please have a look at the eBay auctions, and Spooky's Etsy shop (with new Halloween ornaments!). Thanks.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Sitting here doing some rather grim math. And I see that in the last twenty-nine days, all of August, I've left the House only four times. On the the second, the tenth, the sixteenth, and the twenty-fourth. I'm not sure I should actually count the twenty-fourth, given that was a doctor's appointment. Even by my standards, looking back and realizing that I've let things get this bad is more than a little disturbing. We'd planned to leave the House today...except I was sick last night, and...

I didn't find THE END of "Fairy Tale of the Maritime" yesterday. I wrote less than eight hundred words, was probably working on the final paragraph, and began to have serious doubts about how I was wrapping it up. So, I stopped, hoping I'd come back today with a clearer understanding of what's going on. But no such clearer understanding has presented itself to me. But I've got to finish it, either today or tomorrow, because I have to get Sirenia Digest #57 out.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
I was still awake last night— no, this morning —at five a.m. I finally took an Ambien (which I'm not supposed to be doing anymore) and got about six hours sleep. Which is better than nothing.

Yesterday, I did 1,020 words on a new story (for Sirenia Digest #57), "Deep Ocean Vast Sea." Yes, the title was taken from the Peter Murphy song. Anyway, today I have to figure out if I have time right now to write the short story this piece wants to be, or if I should shelve it and do a vignette, instead. There was also a mountain of email (which at least include writing a few very cool people, like Peter Straub and Kyle Cassidy).

Last night, we watched the last episode of Season Four of Dexter, and gods, what a beautifully brutal hour of television. The ending actually left us shaken (no mean feat). This has definitely been my favorite season so far, in large part because of John Lithgow's brilliant performance as the "Trinity Killer." I was extremely pleased to learn that he received an Emmy for the role.

---

Here's an email I got a from a reader, David Parker, three days ago:

I've read much of your stuff, with pleasure and admiration. Every few months I return to your LiveJournal and read up. Much of your experience of things as you narrate it is at least vaguely analogous to mine. And every time I remember how even more than your work I admire your hard working and your bravery: your...what...the way you keep on keeping on, I guess. Is there a secret? What is your fuel? Is it some fortunate gene that I lack? How the eff do you do what you do, work your ass off to put it bluntly, day after day? Can you bottle it and can I get some?

You're some Ishmael who does not fade into any background, a Pierre who isn't stupid. I wish I'd read more so that I could think of women (prot?...)agonists to compare you to. A great dark exemplar, you're one of those who make it all livable.


Those are kind words, and I am grateful for them. But I'm afraid I don't have much in the way of answers to these questions. I work my ass off day after day because that's what it takes, no matter how grim the circumstances, for me to make a living as a writer (and the same is true for most working writers without "day jobs"). You do it, or you fail. And I won't fail. So, I do it. If there is a secret, I don't know it. There's no secret to perseverance, self-discipline, necessity, and resolve. These are simply the things you have to develop and maintain, in abundance, if you're going to survive as an author. That's always been true. My "fuel" is a weird cocktail of very pragmatic, mundane desperation (the bills have to be paid, and this is the only way I can do it), my old fear of being perceived as a slacker, and the knowledge that if I don't write these particular stories, no one else ever will. And really, that's pretty much all there is, so far as questions of work habits and determination are concerned.

---

HELP!


Last night, Spooky and I tried to finish up Icecrown with our blood elves— Suraa (paladin) and Shaharrazad (warlock), respectively —only to be thwarted with only five quests (out of one hundred and forty) remaining to complete the region. Which, I will admit, left me very pissed at Blizzard. Their continued insistence that one must socialize and cooperate in order to gain access to all the game's content leaves me exasperated and seething with nerd rage.* Anyway, we're going to make another attempt on those final five quests tonight. Two of them involve especially daunting bosses, meant for groups of five players (fuck you, Blizzard). If you are into WoW and have Level 77-80 characters on the Cenarion Circle server, we would dearly love some assistance. I don't even care if your character isn't Horde. As long was we begin the fight, Alliance players would still be useful. If you'd like to help, just leave a comment and we'll work something out. All we need is two or three players, and I'd rather try to do it this way than attempt to assemble a "pug" inworld. Thanks.

And now...it's time to face the venomous spurs of the platypus.

* Our main Alliance toons are in a very good guild, but our Horde characters, which are like our main mains, have always been loners.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
It would seem I shut Sméagol in my office at about four-thirty a.m.. The insomnia's come back, and I was up alone, playing WoW, and apparently he crept quietly into the office without me noticing. But he's fine, and the office is fine, so no harm done. No apparent kitty trauma.

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

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

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

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

It's raining here in Providence. It will rain for two days more, say the weathermen. Then, supposedly, spring will return. I've not left the House since March 23rd, which makes six days. Not good, but nowhere near my worst. Work and the weather and fear of human contact conspire to make a recluse of me. But, Spooky has sworn I have to leave the house this evening.

Subway bombings in Moscow. Thoughts of the feel-good travesty that is "Earth Hour." The sinking of a South Korean vessel by a North Korean mine. The fact that, as of yesterday, the US war in Afghanistan has lasted longer than Vietnam, and takes its place as the longest "active" US war ever. These thoughts, all this news pollution that I cannot effect nor dismiss, beat about my eyes and ears and slow me down. They would shut me down, were I only a little more sane.

Yesterday, I had every intention of getting Sirenia Digest #52 laid out, including writing the prolegomena. But I only managed to proofread "Houndwife" and deal with the line edits to the story. Spooky had gone down to Saunderstown to her parents place, because her sister, Steph, was up from Brooklyn with our two-year-old-nephew, Miles. I stayed behind and tried to work. But after the proofreading...everything just sort of came apart. I puttered. I dithered. I read a small bit. I did nothing in particular, except think about how I ought to be working. Spooky made it back sometime after 5:30 p.m. I have a photo of Miles (Copyright © 2010 by Kathryn A. Pollnac):



So after having that marvelously unproductive day, we didn't get to bed until after 3 a.m., because we are bad kids who do not know when they've had enough WoW. Then, to make the day perfect, my insomnia kicked in (though I'd been all but nodding off at the iMac) and I had to take an Ambien. I think I didn't get to sleep until almost five. And that was my yesterday.

Oh, I did propose, via Twitter (*shudder*) that "steampunk" might be salvaged from an inevitable and imminent demise (thanks to hipness and assimilation by the masses) if we take to calling it "coalpunk." Someone kindly pointed out this title disregards wood-powered engines and suggested "smogpunk." And, actually, it was a rather fine suggestion. Come to think of it, I have never written steampunk. I have, however, written a bit of smogpunk. "Smogpunk" can help us divest steampunk of its peculiarly romantic overtones, that idealizing and redemption of the Industrial Revolution, that short-circuiting of what ought to be dystopian, by drawing attention to the true byproduct and consequence of all that steam...namely smog. It's not about the steam, clean and billowing, but the pall of smog in which any steampunk world would be shrouded.

No one will notice this nomenclatural coup, but there you go.

Have you preordered The Ammonite Violin & Others? Well, then, please do so. Thank you.

Okay. Must awaken. Must work....
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
No lists. No numbers this ayem (aside from the entry title). My mind will simply have to cope without itemized lists.

Yesterday, I received a copy of Dead Reckonings #6 (Hippocampus Press), which includes a review by S.T. Joshi of The Red Tree. It's one of the finest reviews I've ever received for any book by any reviewer. I'd quote it here, but I think modesty actually forbids. Yeah, who knew I had a scrap of modesty anywhere in me? Anyway, yeah...wow. Maybe I'll post part of it later, once this acharacteristic attack of virtue subsides.

I went Outside yesterday, having discovered— thanks to Spooky —that I'd last been out on the 22nd, not the 23rd, which meant my 12th day was Wednesday. We only went as far as the market, over on the East Side. All those faces, all that light, all the movement, it left me dazed. But I intend to venture out again today.

I hope everyone who is a subscriber to Sirenia Digest has received their copy of #50. Feel free to comment here on the issue, if you'd like.

I've reached the point where I have to face up to the fact that I'm taking far too long to get the next novel written. I'll be talking to my agent early next week, to try to figure out how to get the train back on the tracks.

Amazingly good rp in Insilico last night. This sim continues to amaze and please me. I think it will, indirectly, birth many new stories, simply by keeping that part of my brain so stimulated. There's a screencap from last night, behind the cut:

Abeus and Xiang )
greygirlbeast: (white)
1. I realized, day before yesterday, that I'd miscalculated* how many days I'd not left the House, by including the last day Out in the tally. Which means that today, not yesterday, is Day 12. Yesterday I set the record, today I break it. Then, says Spooky, I have to leave the House.

2. Talking about the Oscars yesterday, I neglected to say that what I personally consider to be the best and most important film of the year, John Hillcoat's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Raod, was snubbed and completely shutout. In part, I blame the Weinstein Company's half-assed release of the film. But it's all rather inexplicable, since pretty much everyone in the Academy would have had access to the film, regardless of a general release. In the end, I chalk it up to the film hitting a little too close to the mark, being too true, saying too much that people didn't want to hear. And I'm sure all sorts of crazy politics of which I am not aware are at play here. But yeah, it's sort of hard for me to take the Oscars seriously this year, and their failure to recognize The Road is the biggest reason why.

3. Yesterday evening, Sirenia Digest #50 went out to subscribers. By now, you should have it. I never, ever imagined the digest would make it to fifty. Well, technically, fifty-one, since the first issue, in November '05, was #0. My thanks to Gordon Duke ([livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest) for being patient with my annoying requests last night, as I tweaked this and that and the other. Anyway, I do hope everyone enjoys it. I'm very pleased with "Hydrarguros." But yeah, fifty issues. Wow, and as I said in the latest prolegomena, thank you to all the subscribers:



4. [livejournal.com profile] jacobluest asked: Out of curiosity, because you've written so freaking much: I'm seeing your stuff with anthologies that are invitation-only for submissions...like Eclipse is now. I'm trying to build a cosmology here, so I know where to build my ladder. Is it normal practice to get to a point in your career where people are approaching you as a successful writer more than you need to approach them for publishing short stories? Does that wheel ever start turning the other way?

I've been writing almost exclusively for invitation-only anthologies since the very beginning, in 1993 and 1994. I virtually never send someone an unsolicited manuscript, and I haven't in...about fifteen years, I think. How it happened that way, well, I just got lucky, truth be told. But a lot of this is about networking and getting your work seen by the editors and publishers who produce those anthologies. I guess what I'm really trying to say is, I'm not sure how to answer this question, as my path to becoming an established author was a bit odd. I don't have much in the way of useful advice, especially when you factor in that the publishing industry today is so greatly changed from that of the early '90s.

5. Last night, Spooky and I watched Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds for the second time. I think I was actually more amazed by it the second time through. Truly, this is Tarantino's masterpiece thus far. Before the movie, Spooky made a very yummy dinner of roast chicken and potatoes (with lots of onion and garlic), and also brussels sprouts with chestnuts. I ate until I thought I'd burst.

After the movie, I tried to play a little WoW, but coming on the heels of a week of rp in Insilico, I was completely unable to get back into the game. Everything seemed so very, very silly. And I think I realized that, at this point, what I am after— aside from intelligent rp —is immersion that offers me unique and unrepeatable experiences. Everyone who plays WoW, they get essentially the same experience. It's like a theme-park ride on rails. Sure, if you play a blood elf instead of a human, or a troll instead of a gnome, the ride will be a little different, but only a little. And at this point, I've played seven of the races (nelf, belf, human, troll, Draenei, undead, and dwarf + death knight Draenei and belf). Maybe I'll be able to get back into WoW at some point, but last night was so dull I gave up after about an hour.

6. Lastly, I want to remind you that you may now preorder my next short story collection, The Ammonite Violin & Others (Subterranean Press). And, by the way, if you've only bought one copy of The Red Tree, that's easily remedied.

Postscript (3:02 p.m.): This is sort of funny. Turns out, I mis-miscalculated. Today is day 13 after all, not day 11. I'd gotten it in my head that my last day out was the 23rd, but Spooky just pointed out that it was, in fact, the 22nd.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
As of today, I have not left the House in 11 days. If I don't leave tomorrow, I shall have broken my old record.

I am very pleased to see that The Red Tree, A is for Alien, and "Galápagos" all three made Locus Magazine's 2009 Recommended Reading List.

My great thanks to Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) for making the drive to Providence the last two days to keep the shut-in invalid lady company while Spooky was stuck in jury duty (which is now over, thank fuck).

Work on Sirenia Digest #50 continues, and it should go out tomorrow night. My thanks to all the subscribers for their patience this month.
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
I thought I should post some sort of update for Sirenia Digest #50:

1. the new science-fiction story, "Hydrarguros," is finished. This is a story that grew from a concept for a 2k-word vignette to a 9,186 full-tilt-boogie word tale. Yesterday, I wrote 1,242 words. I wasn't sure I'd found the ending. Then, last night, I read it to Spooky ([livejournal.com profile] humglum) and Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark), and when i was done they both declared it finished. As in, there's really nowhere logical left for it to go. I often have these unexpected endings; it's always a jolt, but a pleasant jolt. I think this is my best sf story since the "A Season of Broken Dolls" and "In View of Nothing" duology, back in 2007. I hope Sirenia readers will agree.

2. I have a little editing to do, but I think you can expect #50 to go out Wednesday evening.

3. I know I'd said that the responses to the two questionaires, the "what you you do if you had me alone" and the "what sort of summonable monster" might I be, would appear in #50. Because the issue is running late, however, and because I still have to sort through some of those, I'm bumping that feature to #51 (February). In fact, I think I may add a third question, now that we have more time. Suggestions for a third question are welcome.

And that's about it. Geoffrey arrived about 8 p.m. (CaST) last night. Spooky turned in earlyish, but he and I were up until after five discussing...well, lots. Music (mostly VNV Nation, but also Radiohead, Placebo, NIN, Tori Amos, and Sisters of Mercy), magick, T. S. Kuhn, Baudelaire and the Decadents, the Modernists, our misspent youths, chess, Second Life, film, drugs...all the usual suspects. It was very good to unplug for a night and actually have some non-avatar-mediated people time. But I'm now jonsing for a dose of Insilico, and will likely be back inworld tonight. I miss Xiang.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
1. As of this morning, I have not left the House in nine days. My record is, I think, eleven. I'm tempted— given the weather and this mountain of work —to go for twelve and set a new record. I think the only thing that bothers me about my tendency to be content inside for long stretches of time is the fact that it really doesn't bother me.

2. A very good writing day, helping to make up for Thursday and Friday. Yesterday, I did 1,547 words on the new science-fiction story, "Hydrarguros." At this point, I'm thinking I'll finish it tomorrow or maybe Tuesday (we have to see how much Spooky being sentenced to jury duty upsets my scehdule), and then I can get Sirenia Digest #50 together and out to subscribers.

3. I've been catching up on sleep the last two nights. I think I may have gotten a full eight last night, and they were desperately needed.

4. Insilico continues to make me a happy little Mandarin android. It's hard to believe I only started roleplaying there on January 23rd, or that Xiang has experienced so much in such a short span of time.*

5. Yesterday, I finished reading "Eotheroides lambondrano, new middle Eocene seacow (Mammalia, Sirenia) from the Mahajanga Basin, northwestern Madagascar."

6. Yesterday, Spooky drove down to Kingston to see her parents. Her dad's been away in the Philippines, doing anthropologist stuff. I stayed here and wrote. She returned with Cephalopodmas presents we were meant to get a month ago, including the collected works of Beatrix Potter and a set of flannel sheets.

7. Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) will be arriving this evening, and I'm looking forward to it, as I've not had company since he left on the 16th, after the trip to Brooklyn.

8. The platypus says I'm "burning daylight," and the dodo concurs and adds "Giddy up, pilgrim." Really, I have to stop letting those two stream old westerns via Netflix.

*Soon, things would begin to (as they say) go to shit.

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greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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