greygirlbeast: (white2)
The last few days, I've been thinking, What am I going to write? What am I going to say? On that day, which is this day. And looking back, I don't think there's much more, for me, to say than what I said a year ago, which is (modified):

Ten years have come and gone. And we have our memories of the horror of that day. And we have the legacy of that day, which is not only our memories of the horror of that day, and our memories of those who died.

We have war in Afghanistan. We have war in Iraq. We have the Patriot Act. We have Islamophobia. We have torture at Gitmo. We have injured and traumatized war veterans returning to a country that will not care for them. We have TSA's "guilty until proven innocent" behavior. We have new memorials, to those who were heroic, and to those who were merely in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Everything has changed.
For in truth, it's the beginning of nothing,
And nothing has changed.
Everything has changed.
For in truth, it's the beginning of an end,
And nothing has changed.
And everything has changed. -- (David Bowie, "Sunday")


And my mind reels at the knowledge that children born that day are turning ten years old today, and they never knew the world before.

As for my personal memories of that day. I watched on CNN, unable to believe what I was seeing, terrified, crying because that was fucking New York City. It would be a week before I learned if everyone I knew in Manhattan was safe. I was living in Atlanta at the time. Kathryn was at a job interview, which was interrupted by the news. That afternoon, with fears of additional attacks and the nearness of the CDC, an obvious and especially terrifying target, we left Atlanta for Birmingham. The flashing traffic signs on the strangely deserted interstate that usually warned of accidents ahead were all reading "National State of Emergency Declared." I remember, most of all and for the first time in my life, seeing a night sky without airplanes.

(Also, you should read this post by [livejournal.com profile] kambriel.)

---

Everyone needs to read this article, "What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents," unless you already know how bad the schools in America are, and how much of that damage is being done by parents. When I was in elementary school, many – if not most – of my teachers had been teaching (I shit you not) for thirty or forty years. Many had taught my mother. "Today, new teachers remain in our profession an average of just 4.5 years..." And "we" wonder.

---

Good work yesterday.

--

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Kickstarter for The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed. We finished with 301% of the funding we were seeking. I promise you, we'll make the best book trailer in the short and sordid history of book trailers.

In Memoriam,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (redeye)
Sunny out, and we're hoping for a windy 53˚F for a high. Yesterday, walking about Boston, clumps of snow hiding here and there, it was hard to imagine spring's anywhere nearby. I look at the weather forecast for Atlanta, and see the highs are up around 80˚F, and I think shit, I want to be there, but then I remember...

Yesterday was really very, very wonderful. Spooky and I took forever to get out of the house. It was pretty much noon by the time we were on the road, so it was a little before two when we reached the Harvard Museum of Natural History (née Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology). Spooky waited downstairs for [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and company. I sat upstairs in the Romer gallery, with all the fossil dinosaurs, fish, and reptiles, trying to stay calm. As soon as the photographers arrived, which wasn't long, we went to the Great Mammal Hall and got to work. It went very well. Kyle was great, and I very quickly loosened up. I think he took about five hundred photos. No, really. Anyway, I'll post a few once Kyle sends them my way. I'm dreading the task of choosing the photograph from all those. [livejournal.com profile] sovay arrived at the Museum while we were shooting, and [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark would have, but there was apparently catastrophic car trouble. But yes, the day was a great success, and I'm very grateful to Kyle, Anna, and David for all their hard work yesterday. All I had to do was wear a top hat and make funny faces. In between clicky photo barrages, I tried to entertain the photographers with impromptu mini-lectures on this or that aspect of Natural History.

I think the most amusing part was watching and listening to all the people in the Museum (it was unusually crowded) trying to figure out who I was. The general consensus seemed to be that I was some manner of rock star. Which just keeps being funny.

I'll post a few shots here tomorrow.

Oh, and Spooky photographed a raven and other beasties as reference for Tale of the Ravens.

We made it back home by seven p.m., and I was utterly, utterly, exhausted. Oh! I forgot to mention that I hardly slept night before last, so I headed off to Boston on nothing like enough sleep. Okay, well, yeah. That happened, which is why I was so tired by the time we got back to Providence again. I wasn't up to anything more strenuous than lying in bed and watching television. There wasn't a new episode of Fringe, so we watched random episodes of The X-Files, then switched over to re-watching Season One of Californication (which is sort of like switching from Coca-Cola to tequila).

---

I'm beginning to wonder if I'm the last living Martian.

---

Sirenia Digest #64 should be out by the fifth of the month, which is Tuesday. I'm waiting on Vince's illustration for "Random Notes Before a Fatal Crash," and I still need to write the prolegomenon. I like this new story a lot, if it is a story, in the strictest sense (it's so much easier to write sensu stricto...). It came to almost 10,000 words in length, so subscribers are getting a big issue this month (and why aren't you a subscriber?). #64 will also reprint – for the first time, anywhere – "Rat's Star," a novella fragment which has previously appeared only in the limited edition of From Weird and Distant Shores.

In some ways, "Random Notes Before a Fatal Crash" is a story that I set out to write a couple of years ago, which I stopped and started several times. No, that's not entirely true. "Random Notes Before a Fatal Crash" is actually what happened instead of that story, after the theft of that story's title by another author (sounds snarky, but, still, it's true).

Okay. Days not getting any younger, and neither am I. Platypus says jump.
greygirlbeast: (blood)
I have an email this morning from director Frank Woodward, maker of Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown. Frank writes. "Just wanted you to know that Lovecraft won Best Documentary Film at Comic-Con. Your section on Deep Time continues to mesmerize. People consistently mention it to me after they see the film." So, that's cool. Very cool. May it win many more awards.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,015 words on "Derma Sutra (1891)," for Sirenia Digest #32. This piece is genuinely "weird erotica." No. Ditch the silly, pc "erotica" tag. This is "weird pornography." If Lovecraft had ever decided to write porno, well, I think, honestly, it would have looked a lot like "Derma Sutra (1891)." Even though there's not a single tentacle or a squamous batrachian fish-person in sight.

I haven't been wanting to write here about my dratted health. The last month I've been struggling with pain from that upper left molar I cracked in the grand mal seizure back in October. My dentist in Birmingham was skeptical of her chances of saving it. And now I'm thinking that she didn't. She sent me off to Providence with a penicillin script and another for Lortab, should the tooth go hot before I find a dentist. I have not yet found a dentist. And I've only taken one of the Lortab, as ibuprofen is controlling the pain, mostly, even though it does a number on my stomach (and me and pain meds have an ugly history I do not want to see replayed). So, if I have seemed out of step or extra curmudgeonly or whatever, it's mostly the pain and worry about the pain and the uncertainty and so forth. The pain wakes me in the mornings. It's become that very first thing of the day, this sensation like someone's socked me in the jaw right proper. But I absolutely can't stop work on The Red Tree and the digest to have a tooth pulled or root canaled or whatever. I cannot risk being sidetracked, not at this point (yes, this is part of the "romantic" life of a freelance writer).

Spooky's added a PC copy of the leather-bound edition of Frog Toes and Tentacles to the new round of eBay auctions, along with another copy of Alabaster Please have a look, and bid, should you be so disposed. Thanks. And I'll remind you that subpress is now taking preorders on A is for Alien.

After the writing yesterday, we escaped the house and headed for Moonstone Beach. I was hoping that the storms on Sunday would have cast up some interesting things. And, in fact, when we reached Moonstone, we discovered wonderful lag deposits of pebbles, which are not normally present there, not in such great numbers. So, as the sun set and Asian families fished for blue crabs in Trustom Pond (using chicken legs on string), we crawled about on the sand and stone, looking for bits of beach glass. Spooky found the best pieces. My eyes are just too lousy these days. We picked up a bag full of plastic garbage. At some point, I just lay down on the wet pebbles and sand, just lay there listening to the surf and the birds. And it occurred to me, This is what I have, and this is why I do the writing, and put up with the pain. This is why I'm hanging on, because I can lie on the beach, with the sea lapping at my feet, and know that this one thing, at least, is real. It's not much, but, then again, it's everything, the seashore, that liminal space where earth and ocean meet. It's what I desire, and what I have earned. Ah, and I found a very nice carapace of a spider crab (Libinia emarginata) and brought it home with me. We left as it was getting dark, and the Asian families were still snagging crabs with chicken legs.

Set me aflame and cast me free.
Away, you wretched world of tethers...


After dinner at Iggy's in Narragansett, we stopped by Spooky parents' on the way back, to get cucumbers and yellow crooked-neck squash and eggs and just visit. The sky is so marvelous over their farm, the stars so brilliant. Heading back into town last night, I think my mind was still lying on the beach. Entering Providence, I had some weird flashback to Southland Tales, and it seemed to me —— and the sensation lingers this afternoon —— Here is the Future, as much as there is ever a "future," and it is bizarre and deadly, ugly and wondrous, and I have no place here. It's an unsettling sort of realization, and yet I can't find any fault with it. I think it was about 10:30 pm when we finally got home again.

Oh, there was a question from a reader, who asks, "I was reading some of your old posts today and it reminded me you sometimes referred to your 'favorite Thai place' in Atlanta. Could you share the name with me or in the blog?" And yes, now that I am here in Providence and no longer have to worry about dinner being interrupted by a well-meaning fan, I can (it actually happened at that restaurant a couple of times, which is why I never named it). Thai Bowl in Decatur, though the old, now-deceased location off Highland was better. Thai Bowl is one of the few things I miss about Atlanta.

And one last thing in this long entry. Yes, to create an avatar in Second Life that looks good, that moves well, etc., you will have to go beyond the default freebie av. And roleplay is far better with good avs and decent animation overrides and so forth. But, here's the thing —— compared to the charges incurred by popular MMORPGs, (which SL is not, not an MMORPG, I mean), such as WoW and The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, creation of a good av is really incredibly cheap. For $10 (US; and that's a nice pile of Lindens), or $20 (if you want to get really fancy), you can create a wonderful, unique character, and it's not like there are monthly charges on free accounts, or like the rp sims charge you to play there. Just saying....

Below are four photos from yesterday evening:

Moonstone Beach, July 28, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (Middle Triassic)
Just something short to say that we made it into Providence last night sometime around midnight. An arduous, seemingly endless day on the road, but now we are here. And here we shall stay. For a long, long time.

I will say that I do adore the new apartment. After the long, degrading nightmare of that mean and grungy hole on Mansfield Avenue (1193, for the curious), all that time between December 2004 and two days ago, this seems like heaven. Built in 1875, the new place is a fine example of Victorian architecture in New England. I adore the elaborate crown molding, and the extraordinarily narrow stairwells that are like nothing so much as the stairs of a lighthouse. But, the bedroom and the room that is to be my office are both far smaller than we'd expected, which means, among other things, a lot of books will be going into storage, indefinitely, and we may have to jettison a few pieces of furniture (that I am loathe to part with, as they are antiques). But, even so, I still adore this place. It is a long-needed change of surroundings, and a beautiful space. After all the sickness and chaos of the last two or three years (and especially the last seven months), I think this is a good place to heal. I'll post some photos as soon as I can.

Byron's taking a nap. Hubero seeems pleased with his new home.

Yesterday, we crossed into Pennsylvania at 12:05 p.m., exiting the South. I do not expect to return for many years.

I'll try to make another entry this evening.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Here's my thing, as Laura Means would say. I fled Birmingham five and a half years ago. Being who and what I am, life in Birmingham had proven, after many, many years there, intolerable. Though, at the time I'd hoped to move to New England, financial considerations kept me from getting any farther away than Atlanta. And here we have been, Spooky and I, for five and a half years. Now, to the city's credit, I will say, that compared with Birmingham, I have personally experienced virtually none of the sort of bigotry and hate speech that drove me from Birmingham. Of course, I keep to an area bounded by Kirkwood to the south, Chamblee to the north, Decatur to the east, and downtown to the West. In truth, 95% of the time, I keep to a much smaller area, bounded by Little Five Points to the south, Inman Park to the west, Poncy-Highlands to the north, and Candler Park to the east. I know better than to stray outside the Perimeter. Atlanta is a blue island in a mean-spirited, xenophobic sea of red.

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

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

---

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

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

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

Stiff Kitten


Today is Jimmy Stewart's birthday.

A so-so day yesterday. The move is beginning to wear on me, I think. The packing. The disorder. The fact that we have but nine days remaining (counting today), until the movers pull up at our doorstep. And Thursday must be wasted on another trip to Birmingham for another doctor's visit. Oh, and the damned doxycycline is wearing on me, as well. So, yeah, stress. Last night we watched two more episodes of Millennium ("Siren" and "In Arcadia Ego"), and then I ran away to Second Life for a bit. Thank you Larissa, Pontifex, and Omega. That was yesterday. This is today.
greygirlbeast: (dr10-1)
Yesterday, I did a very respectable 1,472 words and finished the new and still untitled vignette, the one for Sirenia Digest #30, not #29. Truthfully, I'm not sure what to make of this piece (it comes in at a total of 3,950 words). It's stranger than usual, and darker. I think unrelentingly brutal would be the most precise description, and all I can figure is that it came from the "place" where I am at the moment. It makes me think of early Dunsany, if Dunsany had written odes to sadism. Spooky likes it a lot, but I just don't know. I half suspect I should lock it in a drawer somewhere and never take it out again. Instead, though, I'm sending it to [livejournal.com profile] sovay today to see what she thinks of it.

April has been a productive month, in spite of itself. First, I wrote "Flotsam" for #29 (April 4-6), then I began Chapter One of The Red Tree (April 14) and did 28 pp. before realizing my problem with the "Editor's Note" (April 19). And then I wrote this latest piece over the past three days. Now, I'll either begin the second piece for May's issue of the digest, or go back to The Red Tree far sooner than I'd hoped possible. Likely, I'll get the May digest out of the way first. And the introduction to A is for Alien.

I packed four more boxes yesterday, the rest of the VHS tapes and more books. I'm packing in a way I've never done before, a little at a time, as I'm just not up to the Big Push I usually do two weeks before a move. I've told Spooky that if I like this place in Providence as much as we expect to, I'm not leaving for thirty years, at least. I did get Outside yesterday, once the writing and packing were done. We took the picnic blanket [livejournal.com profile] blu_muse gave us and spread it out at the top of the hill in Freedom Park near Moreland, beneath the oaks. I dozed a little and undoubtedly got bugs in my hair. And took some photos, mostly from the lying down position. The time Outside did me good. There was a hawk, and we heard woodpeckers, though we never spotted one (wait, Spooky says she saw one). Anyway, they're behind the cut (the photos, not the woodpeckers):

Yesterday )


Two more episodes of Millennium last night. And my thanks to Merma, Omega, and Pontifex for some exquisite rp last night. Fire and blood — what more do I ever need? Tonight, of course, we get Byron and Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica. I think the day will be consumed by the busyness of writing, rather than by actual writing, and by packing.
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
Sirenia Digest #5 ought to go out this evening, early tomorrow afternoon the latest. The filing of taxes, and other aforementioned and alluded to work-related inconveniences, are the primary culprit in it's not having gone out yesterday or at some point this past weekend. Life plays havoc with schedules.

There's little to be said for or about yesterday. I waited on expected communications which never came and have still not arrived this morning. I finished with the prolegomena for #6. Finally, about 5 p.m., too annoyed and frustrated to sit here any longer, I grabbed my binoculars and Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Birds (4 ed.) and Spooky and I headed for Piedmont Park and Lake Clara Meer. I figured I could salvage something of the day. But. No. This is Atlanta. And so we could not find a parking space, so we could only drive hopelessly about, cursing Atlanta's dearth of decent mass transit. Atlanta is the sort of city that looks at a problem like this, that one must use cars to reach one of our largest greenspaces, and decides not that here's another good argument for providing better mass transit, but, instead, that a portion of Piedmont Park should be sacrificed to a gigantic parking deck. I kid you not.

It occurs to me that I'm not really in the mood for journalizing this morning.

Maybe I should stop now and make another entry later in the day. The only other thing I had in mind to mention was that we watched James Cameron's Titanic last night. I'd not seen it but the once in a theatre, and Spooky had never seen it at all. I still think the whole present-day frame needs to go, and I still cannot abide Bill Paxton, but I think that I was better able to appreciate the movie this time. When it was released in 1997, I was still in the throws of my peculiar Victorian/Edwardian Reconstructionism thing and found Rose utterably insufferable. This time, I understood the character, cared for her, and was able to respond to the film as something more than a beautiful (if flawed) eulogy to Edwardianism. I suppose this means I'm making progress. One can always hope.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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