greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
And here it is Friday, and only seven days until we leave for Portland (and that's counting today). So things are getting weird and hectic. I've never been to Portland, but Spooky lived there for three years, 1996-1999, and has tremendous trepidation about returning. So, we're coping with that, too. But I am not a traveling writer. There seem to be so many traveling writers these days. By "traveling writer," I mean writers who spend a lot of time on business-related trips (i.e., workshops, conventions and conferences, expos, and book tours). I love to travel, if it's purely for the sake of traveling, but I'm really not one for writing-related travel (except in the sense that any given trip may inspire stories). So, this sort of thing is rare for me. And it makes me very anxious.

I also don't know how writers who spend so much time engaged in writer-travel get anything written. I wouldn't be able to get anything written.

I was wondering, the other night, why people seem resistant to the idea of writers having public personae. It's perfectly normal (and common) for actors and musicians. But with writers it seems to piss people off (including other writers), or at least annoy them. I sort of have a public persona. The person you see at a con isn't precisely the person I am in private. I found it necessary a long time ago, both to alleviate my anxiety about public appearances and because the person I am in private is terribly anti-social. So, for cons and signings and readings I have this other Caitlín persona I put on. I wear her (though she's changed over the years). Trust me, she's much nicer to be around.

---

Yesterday, I decided, we needed one last day off before the mad rush to the trip. One last day just for me and Spooky to be calm. So, about three p.m. we headed to Conanicut Island (the right way round), out to West Cove, our favorite beach for sea glass. When we arrived, there was a large group of scuba divers. It's a popular spot for scuba, but I'd never seen so many at once before. Most left shortly after we arrived, but some lingered in the cove, occasionally rising to the surface like strange aquatic hominids. The weather was good, warm and only a few clouds. We found some good glass, but some really spectacular bones. West Cove is also a good bone beach, mostly bird bones. Yesterday, I we found an assortment of wings bones and vertebrae from cormorants, gulls, and other birds, and I also found a spectacular gull jaw, complete with yellow-orange keratin sheath. Really gorgeous. I also found three bones I'm fairly certain belong to a seal, which is a first.

I've often imagined, while at West Cove, carrying out a weird sort of "future paleontology" study there. I mean, imagining what the sandy, pebbly deposits there would be like ten or fifteen million years from now. And trying to reconstruct the local fauna, assuming the bones I'm finding would be preserved as fossils. A diverse avifauna would dominate the assemblage, with lots of fish and very rare mammals.

Yeah, I'm a science nerd.

Anyway, we stayed until it was almost dark, and the tide was coming in. We watched two mallards, and a sad sort of sea gull that seemed to be following them around. We tried to decided if a cross between a gull and a mallard would be called a "gulk" or a "dull." We finally, reluctantly, headed back to the van about six-thirty p.m. I wanted to stay all night, listening to the lapping waves and watching the sky and hearing the birds. There are photos, at the end of this entry, behind the cut.

Oh, I read Richard Bowes' short story, "Knickerbocker Holiday" (from Haunted Legends), on the way down to the island.

---

I think I have to do an interview for Weird Tales before we leave.

---

In all this discussion of eReaders, one thing in particular strikes me as absurd. And I'm honestly not trying to pick on anyone, I'm just being honest. What strikes me as especially absurd are the people who tell me they absolutely could not live without their Kindle or Nook or whatever. They are fervent in this claim, and I assume they truly believe what they're saying. I'm just not sure they've thought very much about what they're saying. I mean, they got along just fine without these devices a year or two or three ago, right? And now they can't live without them? I kind of have to assume this is hyperbole, that they're very enthusiastic and overstating their case. Because, otherwise, it's absurd, and I like to think people aren't absurd (though clearly most are).

I think about recently acquired tech that is very dear to me. Say, my iPod (I'm still using a sturdy old fossil of an iPod from early 2005). Or my very low-tech mechanical pencils. Or the PlayStation 3. Our digital cameras. Or certain programmes, like Second Life and World of Warcraft. These things are dear to me, to varying degrees, and I use them a lot. But can I live without them? Sure. I did just fine before they came along. So, it's hard for me to imagine these eReader users keeling over from shock or wasting away if they were ever suddenly deprived of their Nooks. Or Kindles. Or whatever.

When they say, "I can't live without my eReader," they must surely mean, "I don't want to live without my eReader," or even "I can't imagine living without my eReader."

Rarely does it help an argument to overstate your case.

---

At Eastside Market, I saw a book with the excruciatingly embarrassing title Wuthering Bites, and a cover that was clearly meant to look like one of the Twlight covers. And the book's exactly what it sounds like, Emily Bronte's novel rewritten with vampires. Can we please stop doing this? It was never very funny, and at this point these parodies seem like parodies of parodies. Which is to say the gimmick is on beyond tired. Stop milking it. Please.

---

I almost forgot, there's a very nice review of The Ammonite Violin and Others at The San Francisco Book Review (review by Ariel Berg). I love this bit: "Those whose imaginations flourish best in the dark will find a great deal to love in The Ammonite Violin."

Okay. Here are the photos. I need to get to work, and Spooky has to go to the post office.

23 September 2010 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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