greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
A wild, rainy early afternoon here in Providence. Rainy and warm (50˚F). I hear rumours it may be snowing in Nova Scotia. Regardless, I hardly slept "last night," despite quite a cocktail of psychotropics, as Monsieur Insomnia came to join the dance. I read The Dawn Seekers until six ayem, when I finally drifted off. My dreams are better left unspoken, but I understand Spooky spent part of her slumber being romanced by Walter Bishop.

No writing yesterday. Only the search for a story, one to replace "The Diamond Friendly" (now shelved). I think I may have found just such a story. Or, well, what might grow into a story. This is for Sirenia Digest #74, by the way. Though, there are many others waiting in the wings, even though I began turning down almost all short-story solicitations many months ago. Mostly due to my work with Dark Horse. Still, I have about half a dozen to write this year (not counting the digest), plus my essay for Chicks Dig Time Lords. I will admit, I'm still a little uncomfortable with the fact that lesbians and female transgenders were not covered under Chicks Dig Time Lords. Anyway, as soon as Sirenia Digest #74 is out, I'll begin Alabaster #5.

By the way, and by the by, Dark Horse Presents #9 will be released on February 22nd and will include an eight-page sneak preview of Alabaster. And only thirteen days after that, The Drowning Girl will be released. Do me a favour. Follow that link to the novel's Amazon.com page, and click "like," right there beneath my name. It can't hurt sales, and it might give me some idea how many people are still reading this blog. Thank you kindly. Anyway, I'll be spending a great deal of March and April (and probably May, and...) promoting both books, including an uncommon (for me) number of public appearances (TBA, and only in the Northeast, Manhattan to Boston). This will eat up even more writing time, as I cannot write and travel, though I know many others can. Plus, who knows what crud I'll contract, all that human contact. Howard Hughes is unaccustomed to the microbial life outside her plastic bubble of social sterility.

As for last night...well, too much...um, recreation. A nice bit of C18H21NO3, far too much Star Wars: The Old Republic (my Sith and my Jedi), Curiosity Cola, and other nonsense. I went to bed, finally, and read The Dawn Seekers, and didn't sleep...but we've already covered that part, haven't we? Ah, I also read "Re-description and evolutionary remarks on the Patagonian horned turtle Niolamia argentina Ameghino, 1899 (Testudinata, Meiolaniidae)" is the most recent JVP.

My thanks to whoever sent me the new Penguin Classics The White People and Other Weird Stories by Arthur Machen, along with Franz Wright's Kindertotenwald.

Somewhere Near Awake,
Aunt Beast

Postscript: I don't have a lot of favourite designers, but...I just got the news that one of them, Eiko Ishioka, has died...and...fuck.
greygirlbeast: (new newest chi)
I didn't work again yesterday. Somehow, taking one day off made me so tired that I needed two off. Which is odd, as I left the house on neither day. I think this is one reason I so rarely bother to take days off. Not only do I not have time, and not only do days off make me twitchy (no matter how much I need them), they also seems to make me tireder.

On this day a year ago—right about now—we were flying out of Portland, vaulting eastward, homeward, over a range of towering, snow-capped volcanic peaks, and little did we suspect the hell of air travel snafus and "we don't give a fucks" awaiting us in Minneapolis and beyond. Still, even for that, it was great trip. But I'll never fly again, unless I can't avoid it, or it means I get to cross the Atlantic.

---

Words I find I live by more and more:

Business as usual is unacceptable. If this is the best you can do, do better. Or do something else. Do not expect me to slow down so you can catch up. No one cares, and no one is coming for you. Desire does not equate to talent, and there is too much neglected talent for anyone to have to endure mediocrity born of even the most passionate, talentless desire. Yes, it's true that honey catches more flies than does vinegar, but fly paper catches far more than either. You're dying, already. Do not ask my opinion, unless you're willing to take a chance that I might disembowel your dreams, and no, it's not worth taking the chance.

I know how it looks. Or sounds. But all we have left to us is the truth. Lies are for the World At Large, for The Machine, for Them, the Faceless Corporate Rapists of the World. And the men and women who serve them, the men and women so filled with fear and self-loathing they only know how to believe and consume and hate. The willfully ignorant. If the truth is Hell, and Heaven a lie, give me Hell. That's the only sane choice (sane being an admittedly subjective term) .

This is what happens when I don't work. I bleed thoughts. Ugly thoughts. Like, "When did America cease producing adult human beings?"

---

I have received word from Subterranean Press that Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One) will be arriving in the subpress warehouses today, BUT, Bill Scahfer says they "have a number of titles slated to hit the door before its turn, and half my shipping department is out sick. I don't think we'll be shipping for 1-2 weeks. " So, be patient, kittens. It's coming. It will be my Samhain gift to thee.

---

Nothing much happened yesterday. I took a long hot bath. There was washing-machine drama in Pickman's Basement. The new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology arrived. I received a biography of Arthur Machen (coincidence?) I've not read as a gift from [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme in far-away England. Small thank yous are often the nicest. Not always, but frequently. I've been playing a lot of Rift again. Not RPIng, just playing. The guild is actually still alive, which sort of amazes (put pleases) me. Selwynn abandoned Meridian, sick of watching the Guardians and Defiant squabble over science and religion while Regulus destroys the world; she now slays demons on her own terms. There were sandwiches for dinner. We read, and then I read to myself, K. W. Jeter's (the man who invented the term "steampunk," April 1987) "Riding Bitch," from the Halloween anthology. Not bad, really. But I stayed up too late reading.

Spooky's Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries—20% off on everything—continues. Only two necklaces and a bracelet left, and who knows when she'll have time to make more. You snooze, someone else wins.

Now, back to the donut mines...

For the Moment, Guileless,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Comment!

Spooky just quoted the Agricultural Commissioner of the state of Florida to me. "This snail is one bad dude," she said. Well, she said, he said. These are our mornings.

Yesterday, I didn't work. My body isn't exhausted. I've actually been getting more sleep than I did for a long time (finally having discovered the effective anti-insomnia cocktail...for me), but I've been working so much. For a long time, I was truly too ill to take on more than...this gets sort of funny. Even when I was very ill, I was working a lot. I'm making a living as a freelance, and so there's no choice but to work. Health is not relevant, not really. Regardless, about a year and a half ago, I began getting better, and taking on more work, and conceiving new ideas, and, at this point, I go to sleep working out problems in my fiction and wake up doing the same thing. Okay, more the former than the latter. But it's catching up with me, and my mind and nerves are tired. All thus fucking work. So, I didn't work yesterday.

I suppose autumn is here. I haven't spent much time outside, but it must be here. I feel it. It isn't looking in. Why would it bother? But I feel its dry brown eyes upon me, if only because I'm in the way. Not that I believe the autumn is something that can literally have eyes. And speaking of the autumn, and Hallowe'en, Spooky is having a Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries. 20% off on everything! And if you don't buy something, she'll get sad, and when she gets sad.... Well, trust me. You don't want her sad. So, please...buy something. The necklaces are truly amazing.

Actually, I hate that word. Sad*, I mean. It's a child's word. There at least twenty synonyms in the English language that are far more suitable to mature vocabularies. Of course, if you are a child, by all means, good word. Use it till the wheels fall off.*

I'm having a great deal of frustration as regards futurism at the moment. I don't mean the artistic movement that arose in Italy about 1910 (including Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Gino Severini, Giacomo Balla, Antonio Sant'Elia, Tullio Crali and Luigi Russolo, plus the Russians Natalia Goncharova, Velimir Khlebnikov, and Vladimir Mayakovsky). I mean futurism in the many senses that it is employed by those who wish to analyze trends and then forecast. But I don't mean those looking for better futures (there are none), and I don't mean those who believe the future can be accurately forecast (that's almost impossible; not quite, but almost). What I have in mind is far simpler: communicating to people that the future will be alien, just as the past is alien. That is, alien to us, from the Here and Now. And convincing people they do not currently live in some incarnation or portion of the future (excepting that this came after that; well, that's bloody obvious, and now you're even older). I mean, the future will be different, and the farther you move into the future, the stranger (less like now) it becomes. That everything evolves, and not just technology, but culture. SF writers have an especial problem with evolving culture, economics, biology, medicine, politics, and especially with evolving language. But...I'm not actually concerned here with writers. Even the worst SF writer is ahead of the curve in this regard. I'm talking about...oh, never mind. You can lead a horse to a fine Bordeaux, but it's just gonna want the oogy, muddy, stinking water in the drinking through, where all the rodents poop. Some will know of what I speak; others will not.

Did I mention that Spooky is having a Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries. I did? Just checking.

Last night, we happened to see a rather good movie, Christian Alvart's Case 39 (2009), with Renée Zellweger, Ian McShane, and Jodelle Ferland. I went in not expecting much, and was pleasantly surprised. You could call this a "horror movie," and maybe it is. But I find it more interesting to think of as a film about terror and horror (and those aren't the same emotions, you know, regardless of how linked they may be). Also, while this film clearly comes from the demonic child/possession tradition, it immediately struck me as a story about a fairie changeling, and (though the word demon is tossed about a couple of times, and we see a crucifix and a Bible, the Xtianity thing is almost absent). So, it may be Alvart had something far less concrete than a "demon" (sensu Xtianity) in mind. It may only be that he understands the American mind, needing something familiar, would fix on "demon." Anyway, Case 39 is not a particularly original movie, so if you're that sort (and I hope you're not), don't waste your time with it. It plays old tropes, but it plays them well. It's not brilliant, but it is good, and it's stuck with me. There are elements it borrows from better films, but it borrows them well. And, even in an ending that might seem hopeful, step back, and you'll see the overwhelming bleakness and horror still in play. It's streaming free on Netflix.

Later, I read a truly awful story in the Halloween anthology, Lyllian Huntley Harris' "The Vow on Halloween." Never heard of Lyllian Huntley Harris? Well, neither had I, and with good reason. The anthology's editor (who freely admits this tale is "pure pulp and quaintly romantic") notes that the story was, in a 1985 anthology, mistakenly attributed to the Irish novelist Dorothy Macardle. Turns out, though, it was published in Weird Tales in 1924, by a Georgian woman (that is, Georgia, USA), and her name was Lyllian Huntley Harris, and she couldn't write for shit. Virtually nothing else is known about her. She died in 1939.

Oh, we saw the first episode of Season Four of Fringe, and...wow. More, please. I am impressed and pleased. There are points I could get picky about, but I'm not going to, because the show is just too much fun.

Also, here's an interesting bit of trivia. My first rejection slip ever came from the late, lamented Twlight Zone magazine in 1982 (at least, I think it was '82). The story was a stinker, and it deserved the rejection, believe me. Anyway, at the time, the editor was T. E. D. Klein, who wrote the excellent and surprisingly (to me) successful Machenesque novel The Ceremonies (1984) and the shorty-story collection Dark Gods (1985), and, sadly, very little else. But, yeah, my first rejection slip came from T. E. D. Klein, who, turns out, wrote the introduction of the forthcoming Hippocampus Press collection of Arthur Machen stories, which will feature the afterword I wrote in 2008 for a different collection of Machen stories. It's an odd little twist of fate.

Um...well...I have gone on haven't I?

Inveterate,
Aunt Beast

* Then again, there's really nothing wrong with the word sad. Not intrinsically. The problem is people who use it childishly, habitually, with marked naïveté. Usually, these are people with a stunted world view.
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
And this, Day 11, will be the last day with the CEM. Not only because I'm quite late getting it back, but because I'm sick to death of it. Not the novel, but working on the CEM, doubting every comma and period. Losing perspective and anything like objectivity.

Time is moving so fast. It used to puzzle me, but now I think I understand it's a sort of psychological time dilation. When we're young, say when we're ten, then five years is 50% of our lives. When we're twenty, it drops off to 25%. When we're forty, five years has become a mere 12.5%, and so forth. The longer one lives, the briefer any given span of time is perceived as being. The mind actually makes the span of time seem shorter than it did at an early age. Or, it may be this is some actual property peculiar to the fabric of time, but, at the moment, my psychological hypothesis seems more parsimonious. And, realizing all this, that's often been my best argument against suicide (though I strongly believe suicide is everyone's right and a personal decision, and I say this having lost someone I loved to suicide). Time is moving fast, and it moves faster and faster the older we get. If you hate life, just hang on. It'll be over "soon."

Yesterday, I slogged through the more tiresome aspects of the process of getting the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir ready to go back to my editor. Which is to say, heading down the steep slopes of Mount Taediosus, reaching the talus, one encounters great thickets of greenbriers and kudzu vines. The descent is slowed. And so forth. And today, I am reduced to double checking, mostly proving the things I've quoted are in public domain, or that I have quoted short enough portions that my quotes constitute fair use. Sometimes, this turns into black comedy, such as, for example, where I quoted Dante's Divina Commedia, which was, of course, written in the early fourteenth century. Obviously, it's in the public domain. But not so fast! Because, I quote both the original Italian and an English translation. So, which English translation did I quote? Because translations are subject to copyright, which means translated lines of a fourteenth century poem may well be under copyright.

But when asked, "Which translation did you use?" My response is, "Fuck if I know." Turns out, I used the translation made by Allen Mandelbaum between 1980 and 1984. Very much still in copyright. This means I have to quote the English translation lines from a much older translation, likely Henry Francis Cary's, which was done between 1805-1814, and is long, long out of copyright (therefore, in "public domain"). And so on, and on, and on, and on.

Thankfully, [livejournal.com profile] sovay was kind enough to read through the ms. again with an eye to this very problem, plus my copyeditor caught many of them.

Also. After adding, over the last week, an additional ten thousand words or so to the "Back Pages" portion of the ms., I began to fear I'd broken the book in so doing. I emailed it to Peter Straub, and he read over it again for me yesterday. And, says he, yes, I broke it. Chop the new stuff out. Which I will do, because I respect his opinion as much as that of almost any living author. Besides, cutting the new text will make my editor happy. An author must never, ever be afraid to take scalpel to child.

Also, I signed the signature sheets to the Centipede Press Machen collection.

And that was my yesterday. Pretty much. Oh, we're getting into Season Two of Mad Men, and I still can't figure out why they made the jump from 1960 to 1962. But it was disorienting, and I didn't even catch on until the third episode or so. And we read. And we slept. But I did not sleep enough.

Descending,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
I believe I have a new motto. Which would be more interesting if I could recall what the old one was. Anyway, "However bad you think things are, they're probably much worse."

Words to live by.

And yes, ladies and gentlemen, kittens near and far, it is possible to spend nine days on a novel's CEM, and still not be finished. Which is to say that today will be Day 10. Yesterday was Day 9. And it was the very height of tedium. Today, I believe I begin descending the slopes of Mount Taediosus. But yesterday, I worked on the "Back Pages" for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, correcting, adding words, subtracting words. Then I went over the Author's Note again and made a lot of changes and additions. Then I threw out the old authors' biography that Penguin had used, exchanging it for a much better and inclusive (or comprehensive) one. Today will be the last actual day spent on the CEM, but it likely won't go back in the mail to NYC until Monday.

And I promise you this, someday there will be an expnaded hardcover edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, complete with color plates. Even if I have to use Kickstarter to fund it myself.

Also had a good conversation last night with Lee Moyer, who did the marvelous cover for Two Worlds and In Between, and who will be doing the cover for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart.

Also, yesterday was a good mail day. To start with, I somewhat inexplicably received two contributors' copies of Blood and Other Cravings, edited by [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow, inexplicable because I didn't actually contribute a story to the anthology, though the cover letter from Mr. Frenkel at Tor assures me that I did. But, regardless, it looks like a fantastic anthology, and I am glad to have copies. Maybe they slipped in from an alternate universe. Also, my thanks to Steven Lubold for sending me a copy of Colin Meloy's Wildwood (illustrated by Carson Ellis). I'm thinking this may be next month's book for the book of the month thingy. Also, my great thanks to Jada and Katharine for Loch Ness souvenirs from their recent trip to Scotland!

There is this matter of Arthur Machen which I mentioned yesterday, then promised to explain today. So, I shall. In the summer of 2008, I wrote an introduction for Bloodletting Press' Machen collection, The Great God Pan and Other Weird Stories. It was a lot of work, and I'm still grateful to Peter Straub for his guidance. So, I turned in my introduction, and was thanked by the publisher. A year or so passed. I heard no news of the book. Finally, I googled it, and there it was on the Bloodletting Press website, for sale, complete with my introduction. I emailed the publisher, and was told that yes, the book was in print, but that it didn't actually include my introduction – as I'd gotten it in too late. This last bit was never mentioned when I turned in the intro, but whatever. They sent me a copy of the book (but no check), I asked them to take my name off the page selling to book, and I put the affair behind me. The introduction remained unpublished. Then S. T. Joshi, who'd edited the volume for Bloodletting, asked me to write an introduction for another collection of Machen's work, this one to be released by Centipede Press. So, that essay on Arthur Machen I wrote three years before was dusted off and will appear in the forthcoming Centipede Press volume of Machen. I've just received the signature pages. I think it will also include an afterword by T. E. D. Klein (unless my piece is appearing as the afterword, and Klein's piece is the introduction; either way). I'll let you know when it's available for preorder, but I know the book's supposed to be out in 2012.

---

Last night, spaghetti. Good RP in Insilico. And we finished Season One of Mad Men, which is truly and actually a terrific series.

And now I must away, to try and finish.

Not in Maine,
Aunt Beast

Postscript: Remember when Wikipedia was sort of fun – good geeky, useful fun – and anyone who wasn't a drooling idiot could help out? When that was, in fact, the point of Wikipedia? Those days seem to have passed us by. Which is to say, you're now a stodgy old coot, Wikipedia, so wrapped up in being THE BEST AND MOST ACCURATE that you've forgotten the point of it all.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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