greygirlbeast: (twilek2)
I like art that at first makes you mad. Good art provokes and inspires, baffles and even shocks us. Sometimes with its beauty, sometimes with its amazing ugliness. ~ John Waters

Why is this not perfectly fucking obvious? Why do people have to be told these things by artists? Why is the self-evident evidently so hard to see?

1) A busy day yesterday, so a subset:
a. I wrote pages Sixteen and Seventeen on the third issue of Alabaster. Dialogue is one thing. Choreographing the movement of three "actors" is another. The latter is a bitch.
b. My editor at Dark Horse (Hi, Rachel!) sent me Steve's pencils for Alabaster #1, pages 17-25, and they are, in a word, wonderful. Also, a Paul Benedict troll! Anyway, today I have to get notes together on these pages before the inking, though, truthfully, the notes will be few.
c. More conversation with Brian Siano about the final cut of the "teaser" trailer we'll be releasing in January for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I think people are going to be amazed.
d. My contributors' copies of the Lightspeed: Year One collection arrived, which compiles all the stories that appeared in the website's first year online. Edited by John Joseph Adams, it reprints "Faces in Revolving Souls," which, I have to admit, I'm not very fond of anymore. However, the collection as a whole is really quite awesome (the presence of OSC notwithstanding, and never mind the homophobic bastard's name is the first listed on the cover).

You know...this was going to be a much longer entry...

...but I keep writing paragraphs...

...and I keep erasing them. It's just that sort of morning. I'll do better tomorrow. Or later tonight.

But if you're in my Rift guild, do please remember that Thursday night is the next scheduled RP event. And one more thing, please have a look at last night's posted "Question @ Hand." I'm going to be accepting replies for several days, and I want to see some very good stuff. By the way, silly, hand-waving bad science is perfectly acceptable, in this case. I'm hoping for at least seven replies we can use in Sirenia Digest #72.

Oh! Also I've gotten word that people are beginning to receive the first round of rewards from Kickstarter we did for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I think these are prints of some of Kyle's photos. Pleased note that the rewards will be going out to donors in several waves, and that the last batch can't be mailed until after the book is published in March 2012.

And thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sovay for reminding me that "The Key to the Castleblakeney Key" is now online, my contribution to Ann and Jeff VanderMeer's marvelous anthology, The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. This online version includes the color photograph of the artefact, which appears in black and white in the anthology.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I can imagine nothing more wicked than the oft repeated insistence (from readers, publishers, editors, etc.) that an author must always love her or his work, if the work is to have value, during its creation or afterwards.
greygirlbeast: (Al)
So, there's some asshole next door, guy has a lawn the size of a postage stamp. No, seriously. A postage stamp. And he's out there with a motherfucking leaf blower. Now, longtime readers will know that, as far as I'm concerned, no lawn is big enough to warrant the profound laziness, the unnecessary waste of energy derived from fossil fuels, the damage to the environment done by leaf blowers, or...and this is important, so please pay attention...the noise produced by the goddamn things. There is this marvelous invention, dating back, well, a long damn time. It requires a little sweat, sure. But that's why evolution gave us muscles and sweat glands and the ability to burn calories. This invention of which I speak is called a rake. And, in a sane world, I would go outside with a claw hammer, dismantle that leaf blower, gaily strew the shards across that cockwaffle's lawn, then offer him a rake with which to clean up the mess I've made. We do not live in a sane world, kittens.

Yeah, it's gonna be that sort of a day.

Doesn't help that it seems the DeLorean time machine didn't quite hit its target date (almost, but not quite...so now we have Bill Gates and Ann Coulter, neither of whom existed yesterday), and I'm going to spend the day chasing ripples through the matrix of space and time in order to make this the Present Day that the experiment was intended it make it into. Ripples.

Should a traveler appear earlier in the timeline of his own existence, he would be but as a pebble cast upon still water. But the ripples he creates would, over time, radiate upon far distant shores—geometrically altering events in their path.

Exactly.

I've gotten distracted.

Yesterday was a frustrating sort of day, waiting for that news from the past and all. But I worked on this and that related to the shooting of the book trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, which will be happening next weekend if it's ever going to happen. The three million details. You know, scooping up all the itty-bitty bits of brain and shit. I did some of that, while I watched the chronometers. I watched dozens of movie trailers, thinking, thinking, thinking. I made notes, and sent them to our cinematographer, Brian Siano. Gods, there are some beautiful movie trailers, an art in their own right, and I especially admire the ones that make shitty movies look like gold. Now, mind you, I'm not admiring the intent of whatever studio exec had those trailers made, the marketing people, all those deceitful assholes trying to pass shit off as gold. I'm applauding the poor schmucks who were tasked with the editing jobs, and who will do the job well, unless they wanted to go looking for another line of work. They are among the all-but-unsung heroes in the shitstorm of ballyhoo and jackassery that is Hollywood. Though, I will say, the trailers are frequently my favorite part of going to the theatre. But...I've gotten distracted again.

Oh, also I received sample design pages from Penguin, for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (of course). Overall, it's looking good, except for some hideous curlicue font used in the headers, a font I am assured will be replaced with something appropriate, something that doesn't make me want to gouge out my eyes.

Anyway, Spooky came home from the market with a cardboard shipping tube containing another nigh-unto-unspeakably beautiful piece of Philip George Saltonstall's artwork, created, of course, by the incomparable Michael Zulli, one which will appear in the book trailer. Seeing it was like being punched in the chest. And yeah, I've been punched in the chest, so I know what it feels like.

The evening's entertainment consisted of watching Serenity for the five-hundreth time (it's still a great and inspiring ride), and then playing my part in an Insilico RP that was almost very good...except—at some point it descended into "You're stealin' my man" soap-opera nonsense and utterly failed ooc communication—and, also also RPers online need to learn the difference between godmoding and how actions would realistically unfold in particular circumstances, cause and effect, and fuck the whiners. By the end of the scene, which went on for about three hours, I was just tired and wanted to go to bed. But it had it's moments.

Anyway, now I must go attend to those ripples.

Thinking wormholes,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Amano)
This is just amazing. One of the performers is an old friend of Spooky's from her Portland days (he's the guy with the very long fingers):

WITD Presents: Soriah and Micah Perry from Ian Lucero on Vimeo.

greygirlbeast: (sol)
Someone should really tell whatever moron/s started using "baby bump" that it sounds like a disease. Then again, we are referring to pregnancy.

---

The heat is unrelenting. Yesterday, we were essentially confined to the middle parlour and bedroom, as the temperature in my office exceeded 90F. In the "cool part of the house" the temperature reached 86F. Somehow, in the haze of heat and being too addled to get work done, we stupidly managed not to flee for to a library or some other AC-protected place. We stayed here. All day. And around 7:30 p.m., my body temp went up to 100F, and I stopped sweating, and I started slurring, and...yeah. So, I spent the whole evening cooling my body down as best I could. The fever broke quickly. The meds that make me sensitive to heat were likely responsible. At least we head out to Readercon 22**** tomorrow and get three nights of AC. Also, if you are owed an eBay package, we apologize, but it won't go out until after the convention. Monday or Tuesday. It's just been too hot to pack books and get them to the p.o.

---

A terrible, strange dream just before I woke. I lived in a house at the end of a small lagoon or inlet. I was younger, maybe a teenager. There was a thin and frightening man outside our screened-in porch (side of the house, an old house) speaking Yiddish. I called to my mother, and when he spoke to her, he spoke English with a Russian accent. There were great trees, like pecans and oaks, all around the house. Later, we went somewhere, and when we returned home, and I saw that there were men in the water "walking" dolphins, the way one does with sharks or dolphins, trying to revive them. There was a sort of turn around, and as my mother used it to point the car towards the driveway, I saw more dolphins far up above the shoreline. They were tangled in a fence, though the fence was really fishing net, and the dolphins there were actually ichthyosaurs. Thick underbrush grew all around the netting. I wanted desperately to help. I got out of the car, and, looking back at the inlet, saw that the water had become violent, a great frothing, sloshing mass, churned by the trawling nets of gigantic factory-fishing ships that hardly even fit into the tiny body of water. The snap-on heads of yellow rubber ducks were washing up onto the shore. There was a child greedily gathering them. An orca had stranded itself, and I tried to help it, but was afraid, and never went very near. In the foaming white water, orcas and sharks and dolphins and ichthyosaurs all struggled to stay clear of the nets that were pulling up great mountains of fish. And this is all I can remember.

---

My thanks to everyone who left comments yesterday regarding "triggery." Some were quite good. I was especially amused by [livejournal.com profile] lady_theadora's:

I first saw these trigger warnings when Coilhouse began to use them all the time, as you've previously mentioned, and I think they're pretty damned redundant. I mean, really, you're on the fucking internet people. You're always one click away from porn, snuff, and/or Nigerian royalty. If you haven't figured that out yet, maybe it is time you learned.

Indeed. And the thing with Coilhouse posting those warnings, it was almost enough to make me stop reading the zine; Coilhouse posting "triggering" warnings is like the Sex Pistols apologizing for...well, anything. Absurd. Anyway, yes. I have a story, which I've never told publicly, and which might be too personal and TMI and all that, but I think I need to tell it, as partial explanation, and in response to [livejournal.com profile] lm. Unfortunately, there's not room here to post [livejournal.com profile] lm's entire comment (this is going to be long, as it is), but you can see her/his full comment appended to yesterday's entry. I'm also dropping paragraphs from the quote, to save space (and I apologize for that). There are slash marks where graphs end and begin. In part, [livejournal.com profile] lm writes:

...I have definitely been in a situation where it would have been incredibly helpful to be warned about potentially "triggery" things./Namely, when my mother hanged herself several years ago, I frequently found myself watching films with unexpected scenes of someone being hanged or committing suicide. This was something I was working very hard NOT to picture or think about, and as a result, I basically stopped watching new visual media for about a year - and because my primary social outlet was a film night, this turned me into a hermit, which also really wasn't great for me at the time./I did actually search online to see if there was an online database of non-friendly-to-suicide-survivor films, but there was none./I really didn't expect any handholding through this problem, and the only time I was genuinely annoyed was when people who knew my recent history recommended movies/shows to me that ended up containing said "triggery" material...but on the other hand, I wouldn't have complained one bit if the media had contained a disclaimer!

Okay. Now, that said, here's my story:

On Christmas Eve 1995, five months after the suicide of Elizabeth, the person whom I loved most in all the world, I was alone in the carriage house (where I was living) in Athens, Georgia. I'd spent the evening writing one of the last scenes in Silk. It was an especially graphic and disturbing scene, and I finally said fuck it, I can't do this, not that night, not alone. I drove to a nearby theatre (I was still able to drive back then), and bought a ticket to the first movie on the marquee, which was the vapid Jumangi. When it was over, I still didn't want to return to that empty house, and so I bought a ticket to see the midnight screening of Heat, with Al Pacino, which turned out to be a halfway decent movie. Anyway...

Near the end of Heat, Pacino's character's daughter, played by Natalie Portman, attempts suicide by slitting her wrists in a hotel bathtub. This is precisely the way that Elizabeth had committed suicide (the big difference was that the Natalie Portman character lived). The scene was graphic and well-played and emotionally sort of devastating. Maybe not to everyone, but to me. I watched it. I didn't look away. I cried through the rest of the film. When the movie ended, I went home and went to bed.

Now, was the film "triggery"? Well, yeah. Certainly, in that it put me right there at the moment of Elizabeth's suicide and elicited an intense reaction from me. But was that something I should have avoided? Should I have been furious or resentful (or whatever) that no one warned me? Should I have complained to the theatre management and demanded my money back? Should I have posted to Usenet, warning everyone? To all these questions, my response is an unqualified "no."

Seeing the scene, being forced unexpectedly to confront it, making it real for me in a way it had not been, was the true beginning to my road to learning how to live with a pain that I knew would never, ever go away. Oh, it would dull with age, and with other relationships (though it was almost a decade afterwards before I found myself in a meaningful relationship), but I will always, always be haunted by the event. And, by the way, I'm not a suicide "survivor," because I didn't attempt suicide. I'm a bystander. I'm someone who dealt with the consequences. Maybe that's just a matter of semantics, but I feel it's an important distinction.

In the years to come, I would spend a lot of time in therapy dealing with her suicide. I would spend almost all my writing time writing about it (and I still do); suicide is a primary theme in my fiction, especially the novels. And it was by these means, by persistently and directly confronting the greatest horror in a life that had had no shortage of horrors, that I reached a place where, usually, finally, I no longer wanted to follow her. Not by flinching or avoiding or staying away. By facing the truth head-on. And I'm not an especially strong person. At least, I don't see myself that way. I did what my therapists advised, and what felt right to me, and by happenstance, beginning with accidentally seeing that scene in Heat. Oh, it fucking hurt, yeah, sure. But it was also my path to recovery.

So, my point is simple. I do not - will not - accept that we recover from the tragedies of our lives by avoiding the fact of them. We do it by confronting the fact of them, and art - in all its forms - is one path by which we can do that. I don't see this as a "your mileage may vary" thing, either. You look into the abyss, and the abyss looks into you, and you keep looking and don't dare turn away. You tell the abyss, "You can't have me yet." (to murder and bend the words of Friedrich Nietzsche) You learn to understand and cope. But you don't flinch. You don't look for warning labels so you'll be protected from the truth. You develop calluses, scars, and this changes you forever, and it makes you stronger.

Oh, and my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney for this quote from Akira Kurosawa: To be an artist means never to avert your eyes.

And this is long. And that's enough.

Not Ever Flinching,
Aunt Beast

Note: I have requested NOT to participate in an official signing at Readercon this year, so if you want stuff signed (and I'll sign as many books as you bring), I'll be signing after my reading and my How I Wrote Two Worlds and In Between solo talk. And, if you catch me in the hall, that's usually okay, too. Common sense dictates when it's not okay to ask me to sign (restroom, when I'm eating, when I'm having a conversation, when I'm rushing to get to or leave a panel, etc. - yes, all those scenarios have actually been played out).
greygirlbeast: (mucha)
This is a post I meant to make a couple of days back, but better late than never.

Thursday May 19, 2011, the woman that Frank Frazetta once called "the greatest living painter," Jeffrey Catherine Jones ("Jeff Jones"), died. If, like me, you grew up in the 1970s and '80s, reading magazines like Heavy Metal and novels by the likes of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Fritz Leiber, Andre Norton, and Robert E. Howard, then you are likely familiar with the work of Jeff Jones, even if you have no idea who she was.

In particular, a lot of people don't know she was a transwoman. She also suffered from mental illness, and to quote Wikipedia, "In 2001, she experienced a nervous breakdown and lost her home and workspace. In 2004 she had her own apartment and started producing work again."

And now another visionary is gone from the world, and we are poorer for the loss. There are some examples of her work behind the cut.

Wondrous Things )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Fuck all, it's raining. It's cold and rainy and Spooky has to walk to the garage to get the hopefully not broken anymore car. And I don't feel like blogging, and as I was getting out of bed (crack, pop, fuck, crack, pop, crunch, ow), Hubero rather perfectly described my "artistic process." So, thought I, a guest blogger! People do that shit all the time, right? Well, Jeff VanderMeer does, and he's pretty cool.

---

All day Ma sits and taps at this thing. Don't know why she does it. She sits and taps at this thing all day long just tapping and tapping and tapping like it's supposed to mean something. She taps then she stops tapping and yells and then taps some more. She taps and yells and yells and checks the internets and taps. Sometimes she yells at my other Ma, and they yell at each other and then Ma gets quiet and stares at the glowing box before she taps some more. Tap tap tap tap tap. Then she goes to the litter box and comes back and taps. Then she yells and checks the internets and taps and punches the arm of her chair and yells and mutters and mumbles and takes her pills and can't find the book she needs so she yells more and I say fuck this noise and go find a place to sleep but I can STILL hear her tapping and tapping and yelling. Ma does this for hours and hours every single day. The other Ma mostly tells us not to eat STYRO-foam peanuts and dust bunnies and garlic skins but other other Ma taps all day long. Taps and yells. And stares. Lots of staring. Tapping and staring. And pacing and yelling and tapping. If she did less of this I could sleep in her chair which is nice because it smells like her butt.

Signed,
Hubero P. Wu



---

Yeah, Well. Anyway. So, maybe cats aren't natural born bloggers.

Yesterday was a whole lot more of everything that happened on Monday. Which you can find out about by reading yesterday's entry, rather than me regurgitating the tedious catalog. Wanna be a writer? Learn to love the hell out of tedium. That's rule Number One. Today, with luck, I'm actually going to begin work on the short story I should have begun work on two days ago. Because being ahead of schedule is about to turn in to being behind schedule. Oh, and I packed boxes for the storage unit. And hung pictures that have been waiting two and a half years to be hung.

Please have a look at the Totally Unique Never-To-Be-Repeated Keyboard Auction. Thanks.

Also, don't forget the Question @ Hand, the best replies to which will appear in Sirenia Digest #65.

---

Last night we watched Julian Schnabel's Basquiat (1996), which I can't believe I'd never seen. But I hadn't. If I had only one word? Poignant. In almost all senses of the word. Bowie's portrayal of Andy Warhol is especially marvelous. Afterwards, we watched Grant Harvey's Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004), which I enjoyed quite a bit more than the first time I saw it. I fear, the first time, I was too weighed down by expectation. Regardless, second time around, I mostly just had fun with the violence and werewolves and sexy. Yeah, a weird as hell double feature. I know.

Later, we played Rift. I decided, finally, that my Kelari mage, Selwyn (necromancer, warlock, pyromancer), will be my main. Spooky played as her Kelari cleric, Miisya (using her druid soul). We were out in Stonefield with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus's Kelari rogue, Celinn. Which was wicked fun, but Celinn needs a horsey. Or a vaiyuu. Either one. We may take up a collection, because, let me tell you, kittens, all that running across the plains of Rohan shit gets old fast. Selwyn made Level 22. Also, we need a fucking tank.

We read more of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief

And that was yesterday. Whoopee.

Slogging Onward,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (goat girl)
Argh. Careful plans were made yesterday how we'd be up and functional by two p.m. Now, I'm hoping for three. And I blame Suzanne Collins, but I'll come back to that later. I woke from dreams of Japan and bizarre aliens beasts to discover it was the ass crack of noon.

---

Yesterday, we finished the read through on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (while I also worked on my next painting). There are the line edits to make, and two or three short bits I'd like insert, but otherwise, it's finished. And I believe, as best I ever may, that it's the best novel I've ever written. There are other things I might say, but it would all be speculation. I can't know how the book will be received. And it will soon be my job to try very hard not to care. Today, Kathryn and Sonya will attend to it's line edits, moving it a big step nearer sending it off to my editor next week.

Me, I'll be tackling the monstrous task of the Two Worlds and In Between line edits.

With what remains of the day, and, no doubt, well into the night.

---

Sometime last year I came across the icon I'm using for today's entry. I came upon it entirely devoid of context. I snagged it because I found it invoked a certain mood. Plus, it's sexy. I cannot deny my goat girl fetish. Anyway, I had no idea where it came from, who the artist was who painted it or when the painting was done. Then I used it with an entry Thursday night, and [livejournal.com profile] blackholly asked about its provenance, and [livejournal.com profile] eluneth kindly informed us that it was a patinting by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904). Looking about on Google, I discovered the title of the piece is La Bacchante:



So, mystery solved.

Also, I made this very cool list, 8 Lesbian and Bisexual Authors You Should Know, which made me smile.

---

A reminder, as we crest the middle of the month, that this month's selection in Aunt Beast's Book Club is Grace Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps (2010):



You don't have to read it, no. But if you don't, it's your loss. See, that's why I'd suck as a grade-school teacher. I would instruct students that they were free to do their assignments or not, so long as they understood the consequences, and wouldn't pressure them one way or another.

---

The main reason Spooky and I were so late getting to sleep last night was that we were determined to finish Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire. Which we did. About 4:30 ayem. (Oh, and welcome back to CaST). And no, it's not half as good a novel as is The Hunger Games. It has some brilliant moments, and some fine characterization. Here and there, it shines. But, all in all, it is shoddily constructed and poorly paced. It slogs along at the beginning and then barrels haphazardly towards a poorly executed last page. Which isn't THE END, but only the cliffhanger connecting it to the next book. I've nothing against series, but each book needs to be a complete novel unto itself, no matter how well connected it is to the others. Catching Fire isn't a bad novel, it's just a huge disappointment after the power of its predecessor. Yes, we'll be beginning Mockingjay immediately, and I do hope Collins recovers from the fumble. I want to love these books, as I certainly love many of the characters, and I care about their world (but pulling off those two difficult tricks still doesn't mean you've written a good book). Also, selling a bazillion copies and getting a Major Motion Picture, that's also irrelevant to the book's merits.

I promise that if my first YA novel is a success, I'll not make a sloppy mess of my second.

---

Okay. Doughnuts!
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
I did something this morning that I almost never do. I got up when Spooky did, then went back to bed. And, all in all, slept about eight hours, which is about the most I ever get. So, booyah.

Last night, I posted the New Question, the Question @ Hand, and you can read it and respond here. If you were to make of me— of my actual, physical body —a work of art, what would it be? Answers are screened, so only I can see them. I'll select the ones I like best for Sirenia Digest #63, where they will appear anonymously. There have already been two answers so delightful that I wanted to hug them. Hug the answers, I mean. Though, so far, all the usual suspects have been silent. Anyway, I'll be collecting the replies over the next week and a half or so. Haven fun with it. No minimum or maximum word length. And as I said last night, don't be shy. Get our hands dirty.

And here are the current eBay auctions.

I didn't leave the house yesterday.

There was good news from Dark Horse, which I'll talk about as soon as I am told that I may.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,623 words on the eighth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. A passage from Joseph Campbell (1970), writing on schizophrenia, is very apt: "The whole problem, it would seem, is somehow to go through it, even time and again, without shipwreck: the answer being not that one should not be permitted to go crazy; but that one should have been taught something already of the scenery to be entered and the powers to be met, given a formula of some kind by which to recognize, subdue them, and incorporate their energies." I've passed the 75,000 word mark— by more than a thousand, actually. After writing, we proofed "The Road of Pins" for Two Worlds and In Between.

Last night we spent a little time leveling our dead girls, Erszébetta and Tzilla. Then we finished reading Grace Krilonovich's The Orange Eats Creeps. I'm going to be processing this novel for quite a while. It resists any quick and easy assessment. But my first thought would be that I've encountered a shattered mind, that finally becomes incoherent, as madness increasingly refashions the world in the mad woman's image (unless it's the other way round), and I refer you back to the Joseph Campbell quote above. It's a very good novel, though it may not be at all what you'll expect going in, if all you expect is some weird shit about punk rock hobo junkie vampires drinking Robitussin and riding box cars around the Pacific Northwest. It sheds that skin fairly quickly, and moves into infinitely weirder, darker territories.

Yesterday, on a whim, I decided to snap a series of photos taken from my desk, from the chair where I spend most of most every day and night. I decided it wouldn't matter whether or not the photographs were good photographs, but they had to be taken from my chair. I ended up with thirteen, behind the cut (and don't forget to have a go at the question @ hand). I make no apologies for dust and clutter:

A Sessile Organism Views the World, 10 February 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
So, the last two issues of Sirenia Digest have featured articles built around answers readers of this blog has written in response to questions I post early in 2010. And sorting through the answers had been so much fun, I want to post a third question:

If you were to make of me— of my actual, physical body —a work of art, what would it be?

Absolutely no answer can be too outlandish, too grim, too disturbing, too violent, too erotic, too personal, too whatever. Get your hands dirty. And mine, as well. Feel free to employ any imaginable medium, even fictional ones. No minimum or maximum word limit; write as much or as little as you wish. The answers I like best will appear in Sirenia Digest #63.

Same rules apply as with the questions last year: All comments are screened.* That means, no one but me can read them. That's an extra incentive for you to leave the inhibitions behind. Only I will read these. The answers that are selected for the digest will appear without their authors' names attached, so there's complete anonymity from everyone but me. Have fun!

* If you're reading this via Facebook, obviously I cannot screen your comments, unless you post them to LJ. However, I will be taking private messages through Facebook.
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Chilly day here in Providence, but it's really only the internal weather that concerns me.

No word count for yesterday. Hopefully that will happen today. Yesterday was spent on all the many ways I begin to begin a story. I did find a title, "The Prayer of Ninety Cats."

This is going to be a short entry (no, really), because I slept too late. How often does that happen? About seven good hours. Anyway, here are a couple of photographs of Dancy's cigar box, which will go up on eBay later today, along with Letter X of the lettered edition of Alabaster (illustrated by Ted Naifeh):

Dancy's Box )


A thank you to both "Reverend Margot" and Ben Larson for their help with this project. I'm very pleased with the result. Richard Kirk has compared it to Justine Reyes' photographs of her uncle's dresser drawers after his death, which is high praise indeed.

---

Last night the CoX rp took a rather spectacularly bizarre and baffling turn. In which we learn that if you want to kill a fairy, throwing a Buick at its head might not be the most efficacious strategy. Pretty damn funny, though.

My head hurts (probably, it was the Buick), and I need more coffee....

Boorishly Yours, By Any Other Name,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cold and windy here in Providence.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Also, Spooky has some very cool Halloween goodies up in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries, and they're only available until November 1st. C'mon, guys. How can you resist the pumpkinhead hangy ghosts? A hand-made Jack O' Lantern figurine? You can't, that's how! Finally and also, recall I've donated two items to the KGB Reading raffle, a very good cause, and raffle tickets are only $1 each.

Yesterday, I wrote a measly 614 words on "At the Reef." But they were good words. Gods, I miss the time, pre-2002, when my daily writing word limit was a mere 500 words. At some point, it got jacked up to 1,000 per day, though, truthfully, I feel guilty if I do less than 1,200. Anyway, I'll be able to finish the vignette on Saturday. Think Innsmouth, with sex. Okay, Innsmouth with overt sex. I established sometime back that "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" is pretty much a story about interspecific sexual shenanigans.

Today, Ursula K. LeGuin is 81 years old.

Last night was gallery night at the RISD Museum, and we went to hear Brown University planetary geologist Carle Pieters and artist Tristin Lowe discuss the moon in front of Lowe's Lunacy, a huge white felt version of the satellite, currently on view. And we stayed for student films, which were mostly wretched. Or whatever is worse than wretched. There were two or three good animated pieces ("The All-Mighty Bearfish!"), but mostly, if you're making a student film...please...think about cinematography and sound, imagery, the basics...don't try to make the Next Great Supernatural Thriller or a Gut-Wrenching Melodrama About Pressing Social Issues Starring All Your Friends Who Can't Act. Because you'll fail horribly, and fail to impress. But, yeah, the Bearfish ruled.

---

Last night, we played WoW, and did the Magister's Terrace mission, defeating Kael'thas Sunstrider at Quel'danas. It was a right bitch, even with two level 80s, and I have resolved to make our guild, Eyes of Sylvanas, a genuine guild. It's always just been me and Spooky. We started the guild to have extra storage space, and because we wanted a cool name and tabard. Last night, I got so pissed that I resolved to add a number of players to the guild. So...if you have a Horde toon on the Cenarion Circle server (or want to move an existing toon to Cenarion Circle) we'd love to have you. You even get a cool tabard. We're especially interested in players Level 65-80, but we'll accept lower levels, and will probably even help you level from time to time. If you are interested, please send Spooky an email at crk_books(at)yahoo(dot)com, letting us know your toon's name. And please comment here, so I'll know you're interested.

And, yeah, I'm still rping on CoX. But mostly, only rping.

---

By the way, people are dumb. No, seriously. This is not an Onion story. This is for real:

Plane Crashes After Crocodile Escapes, Causes Panic

The panicking fight attendant. The passengers who went ape-shit and freaked out over a small and mostly harmless croc. The moron who smuggled a crocodile onto an airplane in a carry-on bag. The asshole who killed the croc (the reptile was one of two survivors) with a machete after the crash. It's a proper fucking parade of idiots.

Speaking of which, Gustavo Bondoni is also a fucking idiot and an asshole. That's two for one.

On that note, I should probably go. I've got an interview to finish...
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Here in Providence, autumn seems to have come to stay. Trees are going red and yellow. Spooky and I are talking about driving up the Blackstone River valley in a couple of weeks, into Massachusetts, and maybe as far as Vermont, just to see the trees. And, by the way, I'm guessing there aren't many people who dream about finding the axis (2nd) vertebra of a Triceratops, but I did last night.

No writing yesterday. On Monday, I went back to "There Will Be Kisses For Us All," abandoned in December 2008, and began from scratch. I did only 646 words. The prose is dense. And I spent a great deal of time with research. Like becoming obsessed with Romanian words for "whore" and "lover" and "wife." And whether Castle Poenari is on the north or south bank of the River Arges. And Rome's role in shaping the culture of Moldovan and Wallachian culture in the 15th Century. So, that was Monday. Today, I need to screw up my courage (an odd turn of phrase) and go back to work on the piece. But it's as intimidating as it was two years ago.

Only two days remain on the "napoval" auction. One of a kind, people. One of a kind. A piece of my personal history. Also, there are the other eBay auctions.

---

The winner of the signed copy of Silk, commemorating seventeen years since I began writing it on October 11th, 1993, is [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme. The winner was determined by rolling polyhedral dice. If you are the winner, please send you snail-mail address to Spooky at crk_books(at)yahoo(dot)com, and we'll get it in the mail to you. My thanks to everyone who left comments on Monday. They were great, all those stories about first encounters with the novel. Oh, and also, we're a little behind shipping eBay packages, what with the HPLFF and the taxes and everything else, but they'll be going out very soon, promise.

---

Yesterday, for the first time since coming home from the airport on October 5th, I left the House. We drove down to Warwick for a matinée of David Fincher's The Social Network. It's a brilliant film, and Fincher deserves an Oscar nomination this year. Wonderful performances all the way 'round. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' score (which I downloaded weeks ago) is superb. Parallels are being drawn between this film and Citizen Kane. They're not inappropriate. Highly recommended.

---

Ahem.

Spooky and I have been eagerly awaiting World of Warcraft's next expansion, "Cataclysm," due out December 7th. Yesterday, Blizzard rolled out patch 4.0, and we were excited about that, too. But my excitement came crashing down when I discovered that, among many other inexplicable and fundamental changes to gameplay (some of which I knew were being implemented), most warlocks have lost most of their minions, and had them replaced with...well...impostors. That is, Shaharrazad's succubus, Drusneth is now some hooven slut named Angxia. And her imp, Volyal, has been replaced with a much less agreeable imp named Voltuk. And her beloved felhound Greezun (who was the Reason) has been replaced by some mutt named Bheethun. Only her voidwalker, Zhar'los, was spared the purge. I'd had those minions for two years. Some players had the same minions for five years. And...gods...by the sword of my Dark Lady...I'm pissed about this. There was no sense in it. None at all. It's almost enough to make me give up on WoW. Yes, I know this sounds bloody ridiculous to all you non-warlock, non-WoW addicts. But there you go. The WoW bulletin boards are awash in 'lock sorrow, as we all join in grieving for our stolen minions, and as we futilely beg Blizzard to give us back our rightful minions, to whom we were soulbound. There's this poem, posted last night by a fellow Sin'dorei warlock, Myri (Sisters of Elune):

Ode to a Lost Voidwalker

Twas the night before Cata
and all through the land
Not a player was stirring,
their realms all unmanned.
The warlocks were nestled in Stormwind and Org,
Dreaming of chaos bolts, corruption and more!
Their minions all banish'd, soul shards fully stocked
waiting for Deathwing and his dragon flock.
Then suddenly, out of the gloom came a cry!
Our demons are missing! We have to know why!
In their places are strangers, our friends can't be found
From Icecrown to Stratholme we've scoured the ground.
They left us no messages, no clues to follow
and here we are lost, feeling lonely and hollow.
Oh where have they gone, our faithful fel pets...
A better companion, we haven't found yet.
So begone, all you mages and your elementals
Death knights and ghouls? Hardly sentimental.
The warlocks all sigh, downcast, brokenhearted
For a lock and her demon should never be parted.


---

Fortunately, I have a new MMORPG obsession, City of Heroes and Villains. In fact, I have become so obsessed with the game that, after last night, I'm forcing myself to step back from it for a couple of days. But...my magic corrupter, a vampire named Erzsébetta Bathory (yes, you read that correctly), has reached Level 23 and earned her first cape...and I just adore the game. Yeah, the controls suck, badly. But the game is still sort of wonderful, and almost everyone actually fucking roleplays. That's a fact I can't seem to get over. What I did not find in Second Life and WoW I have found in CoX. But I've played about twenty-one hours over the last three nights alone, and that's far too much, so I'm giving myself a short time out. Just until Friday.

---

And now...another set of photographs from the trip. While wandering the empty Minneapolis airport on the night of the 4th and the wee hours of the 5th, we happened across a number of stone-inlay murals set into the airport floor. I have yet to determine when or by whom they were created, but they are beautiful. Photos below. Oh, and we also discovered that portions of the airport floor are paved with Solnhofen Limestone (from whence comes Archaeopteryx), from the Jurassic of Bavaria, including the floor around the murals. Spooky and I spotted fossil sponges and ammonites in polished cross-section. I imagine few of the tens of millions of people who pass through the airport ever how often tens of millions of people pass through the airport ever realize they tread on the remains of ancient reefs and lagoons. Anyway, photos:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 6, Floor Murals )
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)
We saved a tree yesterday. Which means I accomplished far more yesterday than on most days. It's the tree right outside my office window, a tree that happens to be on our next-door neighbors property. We awoke yesterday to the sound of chainsaws, one of the ugliest sounds in the world. It quickly became apparent that our neighbor was having all the trees and shrubs in her backyard cut down. But the tree by my window was still standing. I asked Spooky to please go and see what was up, if they intended to cut it down, too. She got dressed and went downstairs. She explained to the woman next door that the tree shades my office, and that in the summer it keeps this room from becoming quite as hot as the rest of the House. She told her we watched the birds and squirrels in the tree, and that the cats like to sit on my desk and do the same. The woman next door was sympathetic and told the man with the chainsaw to spare that tree. And so it's still standing this morning, and I am very, very grateful. I would not ever have been able to look out my window again without that tree; I would have pulled the curtain shut and left it shut.

Though, I did have a nightmare this morning about the tree being cut down.

Three of the seven artists I want to appear in the "Best of" anthology are now on board: Richard A. Kirk, Ryan Obermeyer, and Vince Locke. Four to go. And so far, no title better than Two Worlds and In Between has presented itself.

Yesterday was spent figuring out the second half of "The Yellow Alphabet," which I'll begin writing today, with "N is for Naga." It will appear at the end of the month in Sirenia Digest #57. Also, my big box of the new mass-market paperback of The Red Tree arrived via FedEx. I've not yet opened the box. I'd fear this is a sign of being utterly, completely jaded, but I suspect it has more to do with the hideous, inappropriate cover the book is saddled with (same hideous, inappropriate cover as on the trade paperback). I have no desire to be reminded of that cover. The Red Tree is not part of the "PR/UF" tramp-stamp parade, and it still angers me beyond words that it was made to look as if it is.

Also, there was quite a bit of email. There has been lately. Quite a bit of email, I mean.

We began watching Season Four of Dexter last night, and made it through the first three episodes. Also, some good rp in Insilico (which has once again become a part of my daily life).

I also had a moderate seizure last night, my first since June 13th, that day in Boston. It hit just as I was falling asleep. It had been so long, I'd begun to think I'd never have another. Surprise.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, which include the first painting I have ever offered for sale, Study 1 for Yellow.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
It's going to be a hot day here in Providence. I was unable to get to sleep, and finally had to take an Ambien, which I am trying very, very hard not to do. But it was almost five a.m., and the sky was growing light.

Yesterday, Spooky and I spent another five hours or so on "The Maltese Unicorn." We read all the way through the story again, and then I made a number of last minute line edits and added a few passages. Then emailed it to the anthology's editor (both TBA), and now, mercifully, it is out of my hands.

This week will be devoured by everything I need to do to be ready for Readercon. I'm going up Thursday night. But I haven't bought anything like clothing since I did that reading at the Montauk Club in Brooklyn back on January 15th. I'm considering "dressing down," as what I wore last year seemed to inspire some degree of fear and loathing. And my hair...my hair has been left untended since January, as well. I'm having it cut and colored on Tuesday. I don't want to do any of these things. I hate shopping, and don't want to be futzed over by a hairdresser.

Anyway, as for Readercon 21, for those of you who are attending, here's my schedule:

Friday 12:00 Noon, RI: Event (60 min.)

A Dramatic Reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Acts I & II. Inanna Arthen, Ron
Drummond, Greer Gilman, Adam Golaski, Caitlin R. Kiernan, K. A. Laity, John Langan,
Shira Lipkin, Faye Ringel, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Sonya Taaffe, Eric M. Van.

Friday 1:00 PM, Salon F: Panel

New England: At Home to the Unheimlich?. F. Brett Cox, Elizabeth Hand (M), Caitlin
R. Kiernan, Faye Ringel, Paul Tremblay, Catherynne M. Valente.

Friday 2:00 PM, 4 PM RI: Event (60 min.)

A Dramatic Reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Acts I, II, IV & V. Inanna Arthen, Ron
Drummond, Scott Edelman, Jim Freund, Greer Gilman, Adam Golaski, Walter H. Hunt, Alaya
Dawn Johnson, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Mary Robinette Kowal, K. A. Laity, John Langan,Faye
Ringel, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Sonya Taaffe, Eric M. Van.

(I'll be reading the part of Oberon.)

Friday 4:00 PM: Autographing

Friday 5:00 PM, Salon F: Panel

David Foster Wallace Wanted Us to Do This Panel: Authoritativeness in Fiction.
Michael Dirda, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Sarah Langan, Eugene Mirabelli, James Morrow (L),
Catherynne M. Valente.

Saturday 12:00 Noon, RI: Talk / Discussion (60 min.)

Tree Networks and Transspecies Sex: Biology in Avatar Joan Slonczewski

Saturday 1:00 PM, NH / MA: Group Reading

Haunted Legends Group Reading (60 min.). Ellen Datlow (host), Caitlin R. Kiernan,
Kit Reed, Catherynne M. Valente.

Readings from Haunted Legends, an anthology of all new retellings of urban legends
and regional ghost stories, edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas. The book will be
out in September from Tor Books.

Sunday 11:00 AM, Salon G: Event

The Shirley Jackson Awards: Nalo Hopkinson (MC), Nick Antosca, Ellen Datlow, Gemma
Files, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Robert Shearman, and Paul Witcover (nominees), F. Brett Cox
and John Langan (judges), Elizabeth Hand, Jack M. Haringa, Peter Straub, PaulTremblay
(advisors).

Sunday 1:00 PM, VT: Reading (60 min.)

from The Ammonite Violin & Others* (collection; Subterranean Press, June 2010).

Sunday 2:00 PM, Salon F: Panel

It Is, It Is, It Really Is Fiction: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary F&SF. Caitlin
R. Kiernan, K. A. Laity (L), Shariann Lewitt, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Catherynne M. Valente.

*Actually, because of the delay at the printer, I'll will, instead, be reading "The Sea Troll's Daughter."

---

Day before yesterday, or the day before that, I came across a somewhat interesting (and generally very flattering) blog post about Silk and The Red Tree and my writing in general. I'll quote a short bit:

Caitlin Kiernan’s novels give abundant evidence of the author’s impressive research and learning. Within a single chapter, the reader may find references to sources as varied as Seneca, Nina Simone, Thoreau, Tom Waits, Joseph Campbell and H. P. Lovecraft. Kiernan often wields her impressive learning like a bludgeon and seems to take considerable satisfaction in doing so. The reader may feel both taunted and intimidated by this amazing author who frequently makes extravagant displays of learning. However, discerning readers will probably forgive this author for her occasional outbursts of unabashed arrogance and vulgarity (which reminds me of Harlan Ellison's tendency to chastise his readers for their ignorance). I'm sorry Caitlin. I'll try to do better.

This made me smile, even as it sort of grated on my nerves. But then, how often do I try to grate on the nerves even as I try to evoke a smile? I do think the post paints me more as the person I was in the mid nineties than the person I am now, fifteen years later, but whatever. Anyway, what's important is that bit at the end. That last line. Because that's all I've ever really asked from anyone (including myself): Try to do better, because hardly any of us ever do try to do better. Also, I'll remind you of a quote attributed to Bertolt Brecht. "Art is a hammer." Which is to say, sometimes I use the hammer to drive nails, and sometimes I use it to pull them out again. Sometimes I use it to prop open a door. And then sometimes, yeah, it's time to fucking bludgeon.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
It's already 78F in the House. Outside, it's 82F. The high for today is forecast at 88F, so we can expect the House to warm to the high eighties. There's work that needs doing, but we may flee to some place cool today.

Yesterday, I had an appointment with my doctor. It went well. I was released on my own recognizance. Or something like that. No long-term effects from Bonkus on the Konkus. But it did sort of eat up the day, the doctor's appointment.

Afterwards, we went to Gallery Night at the RISD Museum, to see a documentary about Alice Neel. I've always admired Neel for pursuing portraiture in an age when representative art was deemed irrelevant, when everyone was chasing after Abstract Expressionism, when it was claimed the camera had "freed" the painter from the "tyranny of realism." Last night was also the opening of the the Art League of Rhode Island's 10th Anniversary Show at RISD, and there were some excellent pieces on display by local artists. I was also taken with the two pieces that comprise Tristin Lowe's "Under the Influence" exhibition, Lunacy and Visither 1.

We left the Museum to discover it had rained. Fortunately, we'd remembered to close all the windows in the House before leaving. Benefit Street was dark and cool, the brick sidewalks damp, the night smelling damply of summer. We followed yellow pools of streetlight past the Athenaeum.

I was suffering from my second night of insomnia, and the whole day is a bit blurry about the edges. But last night I slept, and I'm much better today. Late last night, Spooky began reading me Angela Carter's Wise Children (1991).

There are photos from last night:

17 June 2010 )


---

On June 15th, Jim Quon ("Scarbuck"), the leader of our WoW guild ("Knights of Good"), suffered a massive and unexpected stroke. He is currently in a coma, in critical condition, at Los Alamitos Medical Center. Like so many of us, Jim has no health insurance, and members of the guild have begun taking donations to help out with the thousands of dollars per day that Jim's treatment is costing his family. Towards that end, I'll be listing a copy of the third edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder (Subterranean Press, 2008) on eBay. Spooky is also doing a painting, also to be auctioned. All proceeds from both auctions will go to help with Jim's hospital bill. I'll post an announcement when the auctions start, and we ask that you please bid, if you are able. Thanks. Also, a Facebook page has been set up, with information on how to donate directly via PayPal.
greygirlbeast: (querulpous cephalopod)
Louise Bourgeois has died. She was 98.

Yesterday evening, a little after five p.m., I began to smell smoke. The window in my office was open, and soon the smell getting in was strong enough to sting my nostrils. Then Spooky came in (she'd walked over to a neighborhood store) and told me the city was blanketed by a cloud of smoke. Turns out, it was smoke from wildfires in Quebec that had drifted across most of New England. I wanted to get a few photos, so we drove over to College Hill. The smoke and the near-total absence of traffic (I suppose everyone was in South County for Memorial Day) lent an oddly apocalyptic feel to the city. This morning, the smoke is gone, and the temperature is in the high seventies.

31 May 2010 )


---

Yesterday, I only managed 536 words on "The Maltese Unicorn," which was something of a disappointment after Sunday's word count. But, as I've said, the writing of this story is so different for me, in a number of ways, compared with my usual process. Sure, I've written noir before, usually as science fiction (see "Riding the White Bull," "Bradbury Weather," and "Hydrarguros," for example). But "The Maltese Unicorn" is essentially an homage to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, and film noir of the thirties and forties. And the tongue-in-cheek tone I'd expected it to have has pretty much fallen away. I'm mostly playing it straight (despite the lesbian characters). So, not only is it a constant struggle to get the period right, down to the smallest detail, and to do all the things I must do with any story, but there's the added difficulty of keeping the voice just so.

And here's another remainder about The Ammonite Violin & Others, to be released later this month by Subterranean Press. There are still copies of the trade hardback available for preorder.

Also, yesterday, I finished editing "The Bone's Prayer" (from Sirenia Digest #39) for reprint in The Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2010 (Prime Books). Odd thing is, I started work on this in early April, then apparently set it aside and forgot about it. The editor wrote a couple of days ago to ask for a .doc file of the story, and I discovered that I'd never finished the line edits. Anyway, it's done now.

More gaming last night. More amazement at what a beautiful game Heavenly Sword is (though I have some problems with the controls). And we leveled Gnomenclature and Klausgnomi to 20, so now they have mounts. I need to set the gaming aside and get back to reading, and there's also a painting I'd like to start. It's just so much easier, at the end of the day, to switch my brain off and let myself be passively entertained.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
A sunny morning here in Providence. The office window (well, one of two) is open, and there's a Siamese cat sitting on my desk, watching whatever there is Outside to watch.

Today will be a day on which I make a new beginning for the Next Novel. That's my hope.

Yesterday, conversation about The Wolf Who Cried Girl, and I answered a great mass of accumulated email, and agreed to do an interview for Clarkesworld, and I bowed out of two anthologies (because, presently, there's only time for the novel and Sirenia Digest), and I lay on the bed with Hubero while Spooky read me the first chapter of Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962; one of the most beautiful books I know).

This morning, I am weary of modernity.

And I'm wondering how the new crop of teens and twentysomethings became so afraid of emotion and the expression thereof.* Did their parents teach them? Did they learn it somewhere else? Is this a spontaneous cultural phenomenon? Are they afraid of appearing weak? Is this capitalism streamlining the human psyche to be more useful by eliminating anything that might hamper productivity? Is it a sort of conformism? I don't know, but I could go the rest of my life and never again hear anyone whine about someone else being "emo," and it would be a Very Good Thing.

Could anything be more inimical to art than a fear of emotion, or a fear of "excessive" emotion, or a reluctance to express emotion around others? No, of course not. Art can even best the weights of utter fucking ignorance and totalitarian repression, but it cannot survive emotional constipation.

I want a T-shirt that says, "Art is Emo." We live in an age where people are more apt to believe a thing if they read it on a T-shirt.

Last night we watched the new episodes of Fringe and Spartacus: Blood and Titties. Very enjoyable, on both counts.

Now, the platypus calls my name. Here are three photos from Thursday:

1 April 2010 )


*The suggestion has been made that they are so much expressing fear as contempt, and I am open to that possibility, though fear and contempt often go hand in hand.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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