greygirlbeast: (white2)
Choice comments to recent entries. First, regarding the accelerating acceleration of life at the dawn of the Twenty First Century [livejournal.com profile] lady_tigerfish writes:

You just can't Tweet Big Thoughts; they take more than 140 characters. I resent any format that demands my thoughts be small.

– and also –

Making the time--for anything--seems to be a thing of the past. Nearly everyone I know describes themselves as lazy, but as far as I can tell, "laziness" seems to translate to nothing more than "not spending every waking hour doing something." There's an almost Puritanical bent to the way we seem to need to be busy every hour of ever day, to the way stillness is demonized as sloth. Like if we stop moving for two seconds, the devil himself will descend to make use of our idleness. We certainly treat each other that way whenever one of our own dares to step outside the regimen and, say, turns off the cell phone for awhile. Funny, since (as other commenters have pointed out) this pace actually makes us less productive in the long run.

And [livejournal.com profile] mrs_ralph writes, of writing and this blog:

I don't think that's what people are looking for when they follow a writer. I can't speak too much for other people but I think I was looking for the deep, dark secret of how to. Turns out there is no deep, dark secret or if there is one it is 'nose to the grindstone, shoulder to wheel and get on with it already!' or as so many writers say 'just write.' The magic isn't something you can beg, borrow, bottle or steal, it is what happens when a person with a unique mindset and a way with words sits down, writes a story and then lets the rest of the world read it.

Thank you both.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,608 words on the piece that is still called "Blast the Human Flower," but which really needs a different title. I wrote 1,608 words, and found THE END sometime after sunset. It's the sort of story I think of as the biological equivalent of "nuts and bolts" SF, that manly technopron that puts me to sleep. A couple of years back, I was on a panel at Readercon that asked why Darwin has been less of an inspiration to science fiction than, say, Einstein. Or, put another way, why sf authors are usually more concerned with, say, astrophysics, engineering, and robotics than they are with zoology, botany, and geology. It was a good panel. Dune was offered up as an especially good example of science fiction in which biology is the cornerstone of the tale. The sort there needs to be many more of, stories at least as concerned with life and earth sciences as with technology. Oh, and there's the matter of anthropology/sociology/psychology, too – which also seem frequently ignored or frowned upon by the self-appointed gatekeepers of the genre. I could get into the whole Apollonian sf vs. Dionysian sf thing, so-called "hard science" vs. so-called "soft science," writers and readers who don't have the stomach for flesh and sex (sex being, after all, the driving force of evolution)...but I won't.

In the end, of course, it's all matter, viewed at different levels and in different states and configurations, perpetually recycled. So, there. Science fiction, like all literature, is the literature of matter. Distinctions dissolve, as well they ought.

---

Since late Friday afternoon, a migraine has been eating at me. I can't tell if the anger's still here, or if my awareness of it has been eclipsed by the headache. Sometimes, my mood swings and chains of angry days would portend a seizure. Now that the meds have those in check, for the most part, I begin to suspect the same anger and mood swings portend the headaches (there's a lot of interesting data drawing parallels between migraines and certain sorts of seizure disorders, and vice versa). Anyway, I think I like the anger better.

Today is an assembly day. I hope to have Sirenia Digest #73 out to subscribers before midnight. This month you get the new vignette I was just discussing, plus part one of "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea" (with a great Vince Locke illustration), and the second chapter of the original and eventually very reworked text of Silk.

Throbbing,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
It isn't bad enough that the few corners of the internet that I love are withering and/or drawing in upon themselves like a startled sea anemone, but the tempo as a whole – that is, the tempo of the internet – is accelerating. And the rate of acceleration appears exponential. So, that which is faster grows increasingly rapid. Attention spans decrease accordingly. Twitter and Facebook replace blogging. News stories become ever less informative. The sound byte (sound bite) is victorious. Analysis shrivels. Thought is compressed. Or, to me, so it seems. But I have a slow, slow and extremely analytical brain. My mind picks and sorts and rehashes and researches and is, above all, patient. I may require months to read a novel, but when I have read it, I can almost recite it. This requires patience. And patience is suffering a mass extinction on the internet.

One hundred and forty characters. Buzz words. Jargon. Texting. The entrenchment of l33t so that it no long signifies elite, and no one using it even recalls how or why it began. Speed. An expectation, beyond the internet, that instant gratification is good and normal and anything less is a failure. I want my ebook and I want it NOW. I want now. Now. Why is my order taking so long? What do you mean "I have to wait"? Waiting is a negative, by definition. Fast food. Overnight delivery. Thirty minutes or you get it free. First in line. Speed and cut me off on the interstate so that, ultimately, your drive is forty-five seconds shorter.

Why so goddamn, fucking fast? You think you'll buy more life, squeeze in a few more moments? Has civilization driven you to the fastest rat race ever? Is it that you believe doing it quicker actually is better than doing it right? Do you think you have no choice in the matter? You can't see the lie? The only thing you're running towards is death.

Slow down, you move to fast.

We used to wait...

And what is the utility of these words? Because the internet is fucking fickle, and, for whatever reasons, even for those few who do still blog, or at least read blogs, LiveJournal has ceased to be the hip place to be seen.

---

All unexpected anger this morning. The anger rarely comes these day, rarely comes with this intensity. Admittedly, I don't think this is irrational anger, for which I have my meds, but its hit me with that same force and with that same glee in its own existence.

---

Yesterday, I sat and stared at the iMac's screen, and after about five hours of that a story occurred to me. It's an ugly story and a beautiful story. It's kind and cruel. Gentle and violent. It needs to be written in a language that is just shy of cut up. As I wrote 7 in The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The language I learned from Joyce, Faulkner, et al. And it needs to be written in two days, as I've got Alabaster #4 due on the 15th, and I have to get Sirenia Digest #73 out before then.

Wishing for the Salvation of Summer,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Put on your comment caps, kittens.

The heat in Providence continues to worsen. We have an "Excessive Heat Watch," and on Friday we're supposed to reach 96˚F, with a heat index of 105˚F. Might not sound too scary if you're used to the heat in Arizona or Alabama, but that's just short of a natural disaster in Rhode Island. We're planning to not be in the house that day. A theatre. Something. Anything dark and cool.

Trying to sort my thoughts.

Well, my first thought is that I'm at least two weeks behind schedule. Of course, being a freelance, the schedule is of my own devising. Of course, while that makes it more flexible, a flexible schedule is no less important to adhere to – flexibility – if one is at least to earn checks that might, in theory, one day arrive to keep you going until the next Maybe Check. Um...lost my train of thought again. Oh yes, behind fucking schedule. Blood Oranges was supposed to be finished by the end of the month. It was very important that it be written by then, written and out of the way. Now, having lost most of July to crap and a convention and heat and editing, the best I can hope for is to finish it by mid-August. Which...might work. Possibly. The Great Reluctance to Move Forward that I spoke of on July 7th hasn't actually removed itself from my path. I have to climb over that motherfucker to get back to Quinn and Bad Mr. B and the Bride of Quiet. So, I get farther and farther behind, and lose sight of how to get ahead again. Or just caught up. Caught up would be bloody wonderful.

---

You know, I am aware that if this blog were more – what's the word? Political? Controversial? Confrontational? None of those are the right words. Let's say, more like [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna's. If it were more like that, there would likely be many more comments. Well, perhaps. And were I a much younger beast, I might still have the energy to write those sorts of entries. But I'm not, and I don't. More's the pity, I suppose. It's not that I don't have a lot to say on subjects like gender bias in speculative fiction or the problem of "racefail" or the mounting absurdities of copyright law in America. But I can only speak of these things in small bits, small bits at a time. My writing energy, my brainmeats, they have to be reserved, mostly, for the fiction. Sorry, just a stray thought.

---

No writing yesterday, but we did finally finish going over the galley pages for Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, (Volume One). The text is probably as error-free as I can make it, given subpress' publishing schedule (there's that word again). And then we sent the corrections off to Yanni Kuznia, who will pass them along to Gail Cross (who does subpress' design and layout). I also need to send the signature pages back. I've had them here forever.

After I answered the day's emails, Spooky and I fled for Moonstone Beach. I'm getting to a point where I just can't stay away from the sea anymore, and now that we have the van back, it's only a question of gas money and time (not much of either on hand). Well, those two things, plus the guilt of enlarging our carbon footprint by driving so much. We headed south to the beach, it was already 4:30 p.m. or so, and we arrived about 5:30. Perfect day for that spot. There were people crabbing on the little bridge that crosses the connection between Trustom and Card Ponds. There were red-winged blackbirds, catbirds, cormorants, piping plovers, and all the gulls. I could no longer resist the water. I waded in wearing baggy cargo shorts and a grey tank top. For a short time, I only splashed about in the surf, letting the breakers knock me about. And then a couple of BIG waves (4+ ft.) pretty much took my loose clothes off. There was almost no one on the beach, so I stripped and swam out about 10-15 yards***. The water was marvelously cold and buoyant. I floated, hearing only the sea, seeing only sky above me. This is as close as I come to peace. I dove down eight feet, ten feet, and then I was too far out to find bottom (which drops away fast). Spooky (decently clothed) followed me maybe halfway. She never went so far she couldn't feel the bottom beneath her. I can honestly say I'd not been that happy in years. We left about the time the sun began to set over the dog roses and the silvery surface of Trustom Pond, once the air temperature began to drop, about 7:30 p.m. There are photos behind the cut. No, none of me skinny-dipping (by the way, bathing suits are stupid, even if they keep the sand out of places sand ought never go):

19 July 2011 )


Movin’ through rough waters motel boy,
And swimming in your sleep.
How could I be so blind, mis-sighted,
Not to see there’s something wounded deep.
-- R.E.M.

Longing for the Sea,
Aunt Beast

***Moonstone Beach was a nude beach, before it became a piping plover sanctuary.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes, a new name for the blog. Names come and names go. They can have no more permanence than may faces. Yesterday, I was seized by the need for a change, so thank you, Elvis Costello. Also, I think I won't much longer feel like "greygirlbeast." I think, in my older years, I may simply become "Aunt Beast" (thank you, Madeleine L'Engle and also Joah). If the shoe fits...but sadly, I don't think I can ever change the name of this account.*

There's a rather marvelous review at Zone-SF.com, one of the best I've read of The Red Tree. I have only one quibble, and it's that the reviewer veers off course near the end by assuming knowledge of authorial intent. I do not see The Red Tree as a book meant to go "raising those hairs on the back of the neck." If it does that for you, fine. But do not expect that effect. I'm not the one who labels me "horror" (or whatever). And yeah, this does matter. If a reader perceives a text as existing within a given genre, then they burden it with the expectations of that genre, shoeboxing it and expecting it to deliver X or Y or Z, when it's very likely the author was going for Q or G. Any book may only fail or succeed on its own merits, not relative to any other book, or based on how well it works when perceived as any given genre.

Still, a really good review. And I hope I don't sound ungrateful, because I don't mean to. But the Constant Reader will recall what a sore spot this is for me.

---

Now, the Mars story. It would seem that I was asking one too many stories of myself this autumn. And the story wasn't coming...again. Even after I reshelved "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars" and began "On a Lee Shore." I lost a week staring at the screen, and staring, and not writing. Fortunately, the anthology's editor (both TBA) has accepted "Tidal Forces" in lieu of a Mars story. So, all's well that ends well (even though I did lose that week). Now, I just have to get Sirenia Digest written, and get back to work on The Drowning Girl. Oh, and pull together the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between for subpress. That's not so much...

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Bid if you are able and so inclined. Still recovering from the joys of income taxes. Thanks.

---

So...Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The highlights. Well, on Friday, I tried to write a Mars story, but I've covered that already. I also got a really big box of Mike Mignola books from Rachel Edidin at Dark Horse Comics, who it seems may soon be my editor. I've already devoured the first two "library editions" of Hellboy. "Pancakes" is sheer brilliance. The books were the best bit of Friday. Reading the comics, I'd swear Mignola wrote the character with Ron Perlman in mind.

On Saturday, it became obvious to me the Mars story wasn't happening any time soon, and I contacted the aforementioned editor. Also, we watched the latest episode of Fringe, which was especially good.

Yesterday, we left the House. I'd not been out since the 9th, and the weather was good (today, it's not). We just wandered about town, east of the river. There were antique shops on Wickenden Street, and another trip to What Cheer at Wayland Square. There was an exquisitely embellished old car. There was an Indian grocery on Hope Street. We saw a sad clown driving a car. There were late splashes of autumn. There were two wonderful toy shops. We were good kids, and bought nothing. So, a good day, despite my agoraphobia, despite my ouranophobia. I kept my eyes on the ground, and all was well. Okay, not the entire time. I had to look up the three times Spooky spotted sundogs. But sundogs do not inspire dread or unease. It was a good day.

Back home, there were deli sandwiches, and I spent most of the evening with City of Heroes and Villains (while Spooky played LOTR Online; it's weird, us playing two different MMORPGs). My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus for giving me a lot of help last night actually learning how to play the game. Verily, he has the patience of a glacier. And thanks to "Sekhmet" and "Enth'lye" for very good rp later on. Lizbeth, who is Erzébetta from the future, is regaining her glamour, even as she realizes she's not from the same timeline as this Erzébetta. Mistakes were made, which is why you should never try this at home, that whole fiddling with time thing. You never know which of the multiverses you'll land in...or create. Oh, very good rp on Saturday night, which was mostly Erzébetta and Sekhmet reliving the horror (yes, here the word applies) of a long ago night at Castle Csejte (near Trencín, Hungary), what really happened.

I will not thank Monsieur Insomnia, who kept me awake until after 5 ayem (CaST).

Sincerely Yours, By Any Other Name,
Aunt Beast

...I am a goat girl.
Thinking goatish thoughts, dreaming goatish dreams,
Digging up tin cans, and chewing on your sleeve.
—— Tanya Donelly

14 November 2010 )


* I see that "auntbeast" is taken, but "aunt_beast" is not.
greygirlbeast: (Kraken)
I'm probably feeling far too rabidly antisocial even for a journal entry this morning, but here goes. And isn't it odd that in 2009, an undertaking that was once the very definition of private— writing an entry in a journal or diary —has now become a public spectacle? It seems to me that "we" are so very afraid of a moment alone, truly and completely alone, without even the promise that someone will at least eventually look at what is being done, what we are thinking, what we are feeling. A society that is becoming increasingly exhibitionist, and, of course, also becoming increasingly voyeuristic. It's a nice psychotic balance, I suppose, a new ecosystem of excessive interaction. Or not new, only made more intent, more intensely so. Makes Big Brother's job easier, I suppose.

No writing yesterday. No busyness of writing yesterday (a few emails aside). We went to the shore, to see the heavy surf that was the aftermath of the storm. We went first to Narragansett, to Harbor of Refuge. We were both surprised by the violence of the waves. It was greater than what we'd expected. We walked out on the beach on the western side of the granite jetty. The air was full of salt mist and sea gulls, and the wind was bitter, though the day was freakishly warm (high 60sF here in Providence). The sun was bright, a white hole of fire punched in the sky. It was almost impossible to hear one another over the roar of the waves, but then, there was nothing that needed saying, anyway. We found a surfboard washed up on the sand, its owner nowhere to be seen. It was clear that the high tide, which had been sometime around 9 a.m. (CaST), had come well inland, into the brush and salt marshes north of the harbor. It appeared that wooden barricades had been erected the day before to keep back sightseers, but the waves had smashed them. Spooky found an orange blob of fish eggs amongst the flotsam. I'm not sure how high the waves were— officially, I mean —but they were slamming against and over-topping the jetty (which is 5-7 feet high, if you're standing on the beach it protects), sending spray twenty or thirty feet into the afternoon air.

We left Harbor of Refuge, having decided we wanted to see what was going on farther west, at Moonstone Beach. But first we went all the way down to Point Judith, where the tide was lower than I'd ever seen it before. Mossy green rocks were exposed, and tide pools, but the waves were too treacherous to try for a look at what might be stranded in them. The foghorn at the lighthouse called out over the crash of the breakers.

On the way to Moonstone Beach, I pointed out a bumper sticker to Spooky. "Do No Harm." As if that's even possible, as if every human action, no matter how profound or mundane, doesn't do harm in some way. Still, I suppose it's a nice sentiment.

We reached Moonstone as the sun was getting low. We'd stopped somewhere along the way so I could photograph a field, still green in December. We passed cows and flooded pastures. When we finally reached Moonstone Beach, we found it completely transformed by the storm. The usual carpet of cobbles and pebbles was swept away or buried. Much of the sand was stained black with the ghost of the '96 oil spill. The waves were almost as impressive as those at Harbor of Refuge, four and half miles to the east. Despite low tide, the brackish tea-colored water in Trustom Pond was very high, rushing loudly through the spillway into Card Pond. Spooky and I walked west, towards Green Hill, walking into the wind. But we only went a hundred yards or so. The sun slipped behind clouds advancing from Long Island Sound, and the temperature abruptly plummeted. By the time we made it back to the car, we were shivering and the dunes were in shadow.

And that was yesterday. I have enough photographs for several days, and the first seven are behind the cut below.

Please note that we've begun a new round of eBay auctions. And that Spooky has only four of her Cthulhu-headstone Cehalopodmas ornaments remaining (of the ten she made); you can see (and purchase) them in her Etsy Dreaming Squid Dollworks shop.

There will be no writing today. I have to finish editing "Sanderlings" and get the chapbook ready to send to Subterranean Press. Also, I need to undo a large number of changes that an over-zealous copy-editor wrought upon one of my stories. I will not name the story, the book, or the editors— it wasn't their fault. I just wish publishers would start firing copy-editors who try to become authors vicariously, by "correcting," and thereby mangling, prose. It is an enormous waste of my time that I have to go back, now, and fix what wasn't broken to begin with.

Photos from Harbor of Refuge:

3 December 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
Yesterday, the temperatures cooled down again, with a high somewhere around 60F, and my office was once more a bearable room to be in. Which made finishing "Untitled 34" much more pleasant (still needs a different title, I think). I wrote 1,306 words and found THE END. In some ways, it's one of the most peculiar pieces I've written for Sirenia Digest, drawing as it does from Lovecraft's "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath," and yet also featuring a unicorn rape scene.

After writing, we read through Chapter Two of The Red Tree, the conclusion of which falls on page 97. We found a few annoying errors, most of them my own. Oh, and the production manager at Penguin promised me yesterday that the footnote problem in the "Editor's Preface" will be corrected, which is a relief. Reading it again, I do think this is my best novel to date. In some ways, I want to say that it's my first truly adult book (and that really has nothing much to do with the fact that it has sex scenes).

I spoke with an editor to whom I owe an sf story, and found out I might have a little wiggle room on the May 15th deadline. But hopefully I won't need it.

Today is Assembly Day, which comes once every month. The day when I sit down at actually assemble that month's issue of Sirenia Digest. It should go out to subscribers before midnight EDT.

My Facebook account has pretty much become another mirror for this blog, and a place to post my peculiar little "Top 5 Lists." I refuse to even try to wrap my brain around the concept of "micro-blogging." I predict that within a year (if it's not already happened), we see the emergence of "nano-blogging."

Platypus and dodo are whispering to one another. That can't be good.
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
I spent yesterday not writing, but searching for the next story to be written. So, I didn't really do much better than I did on Monday, despite the best of intentions.

---

Don't know how many of you have been following the Google Books fiasco. The Author's Guild and various publishers reached a settlement with Google back in October, under which Google is required to pay out $125 million dollars to the authors who have had (or soon will have) their copyrights infringed by the Google Books project. It's not much of a settlement. $60 per book, and if you don't claim your copyright and go along with the plan, Google will use your work, regardless. To quote Wikipedia, "In return, Google will be able to index the books and display snippets in search results, as well as up to 20% of each book in preview mode. Google will also be able to show ads on these pages and make available for sale digital versions of each book" (italics mine).

I mean, if this is the best the Author's Guild can manage, authors are well and truly screwed.

You can opt out, of course, and choose to file your own lawsuit against Google, but that's not much of an option. I haven't the money, the time, or the legal savvy. Anyway, there's now a website up that allows authors and publishers to "claim" copyright of their books that Google has already digitized. I've found sixteen of my own works listed on the website. Most are still in print. Oh, and I'm not counting those books of mine on the list that were done as "work for hire" (The Dreaming, Beowulf, etc.), as the publisher legally holds those copyrights.

I spoke with my agent on Monday regarding my options, and she replied I should accept the settlement, unless I plan to file my own lawsuit. So, Google Books has become a compulsory enterprise. I do not have the option I want, which is simply to deny Google the rights to display or sell anything I've written. And how this is possible is beyond me. This is my work, and I own the copyrights, and what Google is undertaking is blatantly illegal, and will seriously jeopardize my ability to make a living off my work, but I have no choice. In the end, I have to admit this mess baffles the hell out of me. To simply quote four lines of poetry in a novel, I have to jump through countless legal hoops. But no one is able to stop Google from forcing every living writer to be a part of this scheme. It makes me ill. It makes me want to never write another fucking word.

---

The last few months, I've had numerous people ask me why I'm not "twittering," or if I plan on "twittering," or will I please start "twittering." Back on February 3rd, I spoke my mind on Twitter, and nothing has changed. I started a blog in 2001 at the advice of my agent and other authors (most notably Neil), who thought it might help to promote my work. And it has. I began mirroring the blog at LiveJournal (originally, I was at Blogger) in April 2003, because, for whatever reason, people seemed to be flocking to LJ. I made a major concession to my lack of interest in the whole social-networking phenomenon a couple of years later by starting a MySpace account. Unlike the blog, whether or not MySpace has had any positive affect on the sales of my work is unclear. And then Facebook came along, and I reluctantly started an account, because, once again, I worried that if I didn't, I'd miss an opportunity to promote my writing. So...Blogger, LJ, MySpace, and Facebook.

And now I'm being told that I need to add Twitter to the list. After all, all the cool kids are doing it. It's the new wave of the future. But I find that I just don't care. Which is to say, no, I will not be joining the Twitter craze. I am already more "connected" than I wish to be, and I can think of nothing more insufferably dull than sending out trivial details of my life, trying to broadcast my every trivial thought (or reading the trivial acts and thoughts of others). I've already come dangerously close to doing this with the Facebook thing, and, for that matter, with the online journal. I have no more time for distraction. No more time for the latest internet fads. If anything, I'm more inclined to begin withdrawing somewhat.

I'm having one of those "Emperor's New Clothes" reactions to Twitter, and I think it's time to trust my instincts, which I too often ignore.

I do not do text. These days, I rarely even use the telephone. I will not "twitter."
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
What is this obsession with writing it all down? Has some part of me begun to believe it isn't real, these experiences, unless I write them down? Or that they are not valid, or won't prove lasting, unless I commit them to this journal? It's been eating at me.

Yesterday, we left Providence about one p.m., and drove north, past Boston, to Salem. Along the road, only the willows seemed to be greening. There were red splotches of cranberry bogs. We spent part of the afternoon exploring witchcraft shops (an annoying number of which were closed). We found a couple that were not too touristy and not of the airy-fairy, fluffy-bunny variety, which was refreshing. Places that weren't terrified of the "left path." Some old guy on the street, wearing so many pentagrams I lost count, showed us we were holding the map of Salem upside down. We drove past the House of the Seven Gables and Nathaniel Hawthorne's birthplace, but it was already late, and we didn't stop. On the waterfront, we saw a huge sailing ship, Friendship of Salem. The city has a strange effect on me. Salem, I mean. On the one hand, there's all the tacky Disneyesque crap, the wax museums, the "haunted tours," and whatnot. And then there's the history of the trials (which has a lot less to do with witchcraft than with mass hysteria and general intolerance). And then there's the sense that, ironically, Salem draws genuine practitioners of various occult traditions. And the end result, in my head, is a weird clash, an almost dizzying sort of cognitive dissonance.

Late in the afternoon, we drove down to Marblehead. I wish I could see Marblehead as it was a hundred or a hundred and fifty years ago, before it was prettied up and gentrified. The tide was out, and just as the sun was setting, we found a marvelous rocky cove on Front Road. Later, back home, I learned that it's called Fort Seawall Cove. There was a seawall. The beach here reminded me of Ireland, in and around Dublin, which no other New England beach has ever really done. There was beach glass everywhere. Great clumps of bladder wrack, huge mounds of snail and mussel shells. Tilted beds of Precambrian granite. We stayed almost until dark, and left reluctantly. I think we made it home about 8:30 p.m.

Here are three photos from yesterday:

9 April 2009 )


---

And I should repost links to the latest round of eBay auctions and, also, to Emma the Beltane Bunneh.
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
I did manage to determine yesterday that a) I spend far too much time on the journal (1.5-2.5 hrs. per day, on entry composition alone, so say 45-75 hrs. per month), but b) it has become indispensable as a means of self promotion. Without it, the books would get little support, and without it, Sirena Digest, which has become my "bread and butter," the thing that pays the rent, would likely not exist. This re-evaluation of the time I spend on the journal was prompted by word of a new study regarding the amount of time that Americans spend "working" vs. "playing," which shows a substantial drop in leisure time since 1973. I largely blame excessive connectivity.

Yesterday, I sort of went back to work. It was time for the "vacation" part of the semi-vacation to end, and I was in such a foul mood, and it was so cold out, I figured that I might as well work. First, I tried to make sense of all the anthologies I've been asked the write for. I see I have stories due in May, June, and July, and that's going to be a crunch, what with Joey Lafaye coming up. Afterwards, Spooky and I started reading over "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent," which is being reprinted in The Very Best of the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, as the story representing Volume Nine (1998). Now, this is a short story that I wrote in November 1993, fifteen years ago. Well, actually, it's more complicated than that. The first half was written in November '93, and then the second half was written in the summer of '97. It hasn't been reprinted since it appeared in my collection From Weird and Distant Shores in 2002. Which means I've not looked at, much less read, the piece in about six years. And, being me, I couldn't just send it off to Steve without going over it. And here's the me of Now reading the me of Then, and I'm not awfully happy with what I see. So, yesterday was spent reworking much of the language in the first part of the story. I still have the second half to go. It feels like utter madness, when I'm so tired, and there's so much else to be done, and I could have just sent in the story as is. But "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent" was only the third short story I wrote for publication (we're not counting the genuine juvenilia and college crap), and it bears very little resemblance to the writer I have become. It's an artifact (all the stories are, but this is an old artifact), and I can't help but "fix" certain things before I see it reprinted again (this will be it's fourth appearance in print, since Autumn 1997).

Of course, this is not an isolated case. I virtually never allow a story to be reprinted without making at least minor edits. Usually, they are more than minor.

Unexpectedly warm today. Warm and very windy. It's 60F as I write this.

Elsewise, yesterday was that black mood (which is only very little improved today). I did get some reading done. Chinese for dinner, fried rice and wonton soup. We watched two more eps of Doctor Who (Series 4), the two-part Sontaran invasion story. And then we watched the latest episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which I thought was quite a bit better than usual (maybe it was the absence of Thomas Dekker). Then we played enough WoW that Shaharrazad and Suraa both made Lvl 38. Booya. My black mood was well matched to slaughtering ogres in the Alterac Mountains and humans in that little Syndicate hovel along the shores of Lordaeron Lake. The humans make better sport.

Okay. Enough of this for now. I've been at this since 11:28 ayem, and now it's after noon.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Another very good writing day yesterday. 1,624 words on "Dancing with the Eight of Swords," and in only about two and a half hours. That's more than 3,000 words in the last two days, after having just finished "The Colliers' Venus (1893)." I'll finish the new vignette today. Tomorrow, I'll do everything else that needs doing on Sirenia Digest #36, and it should go out to subscribers late tomorrow night.

After dinner last night (spaghetti, and marinated artichoke hearts), we finished the first read through on The Red Tree. Spooky was doing the actual reading, and I confess, I'm so exhausted, I dozed through the last section of Chapter 8, which sucks (that I fell asleep; not the chapter), as it's one of my favourite parts of the book. Anyway, I was awake for all of Chapter 9. Having heard the whole thing now, I see that there is precious little editing to do. It works better, probably, than any novel I've ever written before. I have no idea how I wrote it so quickly, and also managed to get it right. My only real complaint is that I wish I'd have had time to make it several chapters longer. But, really, it works just fine at this length. The last chapter is such a plummet, and I can only hope that the readers take the fall as it's meant to be taken. Now, I'll attend to all these line edits I've accumulated, a few continuity errors, write an epilogue, produce a second draft, email that to my editor at Penguin, then do a second read through, sometime in December. The footnotes I agonized over early on will be present only in the "editor's" preface and epilogue.

I did some work on the [livejournal.com profile] crk_blog_vault (and, if you're interested in the writing of Low Red Moon, you may want to follow along). I posted sound bites to my Facebook account (which is just...weird).

Spooky drove down to Saunderstown yesterday afternoon to see her mom and dad, her younger sister (up from Brooklyn) and nephew and brother-in-law. Spooky's brother, who lives in Montana now, is on his way to some manner of scientific conference in Australia.

It's cloudy here today, overcast and only in the forties (F).

Also, yesterday, I read "New Specimens of Lithoptila abdounensis (Aves, Prophaethontidae) from the Lower Paleogene of Morocco," in the September JVP. And, late, we watched two more episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Both were quite good, and the series seems to be recovering from the lack of energy and focus at the beginning of Season Two. I do keep hoping for actual combat scenes with Summer Glau, and I wish they'd make better use of Shirley Manson. I'm loving all the glimpses of the world after "Judgment Day." The use of the Oz material in "Goodbye to That" was excellent.

Anyway, I think it was 4 ayem before I got to sleep, which just won't do. I know, because the platypus says it won't.

Pull the blindfold down,
So your eyes can't see.
Now, run as fast as you can
Through this field of trees.
—— The Editors
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
The new story, "The Colliers' Venus (1893)," has been giving me fits (no, not seizures, just fits). For all intents and purposes, as far as writing and my deadlines are concerned, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were a loss. Then, yesterday, I finally found my footing again, and the story began to move forward once more. I wrote 1,402 words. I am cautiously optimistic. This sort of stalling out doesn't often happen to me, thank fuck. But I'm now quite behind, and I have to be in Manhattan on Wednesday, which means I'll also lose Thursday. The good news is that I have an idea for a new Sirenia Digest piece for #36. I was hoping to have "The Colliers' Venus (1893)" done before NYC, but that now looks very, very unlikely.

A string of grey days here in Providence.

The car situation is sorting itself out. We were talking about a 2004 Suburu Outback, but then a local mechanic warned us about persistent head gasket problems, so we're looking at Toyotas and Hondas, instead.

Last night, for Kindernacht, we watched David Yates' Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007). I liked it quite a lot better than when we saw it in the theatre. But I still say that this is the first of the Harry Potter films that really needs the audience to have read the book. And I'm still amazed that the screenwriter and director made such a success of the novel's muddled climactic action scene. And there's still far too little Tonks. Though, the "Trailing Tonks" featurette on the DVD helps with that. As for the handful of deleted scenes included in the "Collectors' Edition," they don't add up to much. We see that Emma Watson had two good scenes chopped, and that a longer (and more effective) version of Umbridge's "I hate children" speech exists. In the end, I'm impressed by the film, but do hope for better from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Not sure what we'll do next week for Kid Night, now we're out of Harry Potter films.

I've posted a couple more entries to the [livejournal.com profile] crk_blog_vault. Little annotations are finding their way in.

And now it's eleven thirty, and I should go.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
A truly stunningly hideous dream this morning, even by my standards. So, just a tad dreamsick right now.

Yesterday, I wrote only 839 words on "The Colliers' Venus (1893)," which looks rather pathetic compared to Sunday's word count. I fear the story might have derailed, and I may have to spend today getting it back on track. This is another one set in my alternate-hitsory steampunk Colorado, in the city of Cherry Creek (known in this worldline as Denver), which was also the setting for "The Steam Dancer" (1896)," "The Melusine (1898)," and "Derma Sutra (1891)."

I should give some sort of historical context for the stuff I'm reposting at [livejournal.com profile] crk_blog_vault, for those who are following it. It's very strange for me, reading back over and reposting those old entries. At the time I began the blog, I'd just returned from my first (and bloody disastrous) move to Atlanta. I was once again living in Liberty House in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, in a loft (#304) next door to the loft (#303) I'd moved out of just a few months earlier. I adored Liberty House, though, sadly, it has since been devoured by the condo monster. Once upon a time, it was the Liberty Overall's factory, there on Morris Avenue, and Jada's grandmother worked there when she was young. The building was built in the 1920s. The ceilings in that second loft were, at their highest point, eighteen feet from the hardwood floors (there was a slope from the back of the loft to the front, with the ceiling becoming progressively higher). Threshold had just been released, and I was, obviously, trying to begin Low Red Moon. I was still doing research on mosasaurs and the Upper Cretaceous of Alabama, and would soon begin doing volunteer work at the McWane Science Center. I was thirty-seven years old, which seems very young now. Spooky had gone back to Rhode Island by the time I started the blog. Sophie (the cat) was getting old, but still had five years to live. I was scripting the last book I'd do for DC/Vertigo, Bast: Eternity Game. My office roof leaked when it rained. Anyway, I'm putting the entries up pretty much as written, making only spelling corrections and such.

Back to yesterday...

While I wrote, Spooky took the car to a mechanic down in Wakefield, to have fixed whatever went wrong with the windshield wipers back in September. She visited her mom, and they went to the Toy Vault (wicked cheap) in the Wakefield mall and found the Severus Snape action figure I've been coveting. Now, if I can just find Dumbledore. Anyway, Spooky drove her mother's van back to Providence, and tomorrow we should get our car. There was a big pot of chili for dinner. We made it through Chapter Two of The Red Tree. But I took a hot bath before we started reading and had a great deal of trouble staying awake for the first few pages. Later, when work was finally done, we played a little WoW. Shah and Suraa wandered from the Arathi Highlands all the way south to Booty Bay, where they drank cherry-flavoured grog in the company of goblins. Shaharrazad got a fancy new wand (35-66 arcane damage, 29 damage/second, speed 1.8) off a Dalaran summoner (human) that Suraa killed, which is pretty cool, considering there's only a 1% drop rate for that wand. Later still, we watched more Firefly.

Right. Coffee. Platypus. Deadlines. Here we go again....

And no, I do not celebrate Veteran's Day. I recognize Armistice Day (thank you, Mr. Vonnegut).
greygirlbeast: (Blood elf 2)
A cold, clear day here in Providence. The trees are quickly shedding their fall colors. Winter will be coming on, soon. Back in Atlanta, we'd be freezing, and I'd be bitching about the cryosphere in my office. Here in Rhode Island, ironically, we're quite toasty. And, before I forget, happy birthday to Neil, who turns -08 today, and also to Spooky's sister, Steph, in faraway Brooklyn.

I've begun a second LiveJournal account, as of yesterday. It's purpose is to serve as a more stable and accessible archive for the entries from my old Blogger journal, which was begun in November 2001, just before I started writing Low Red Moon (and which I'd originally intended to end when the book was done). As such, it bears the rather unimaginative title [livejournal.com profile] crk_blog_vault. Each day, I'll be reposting one to three entries from the old Blogger account, with the original date and time for the entries included as the subject line. Hence, the first entry is "November 24, 2001 (12:40 a.m.)." Anyway, have a look if you're interested. "Low Red Moon Journal" has been orphaned since December 2006, but mostly I'm interested in mirroring those hundreds of entries that were made before I began this LJ in April 2004. I've shut off the comments feature for the new journal, and I'm still fiddling about with the look of the thing.

Yesterday, I did 1,453 words on "The Colliers' Venus (1893)," previously titled "The Automatic Mastodon (1893)." The automatic mastodon still makes a cameo appearance in the story, but I realized yesterday it's not the centerpiece. So, a very good writing day.

And a lot of work besides the new short story. After the writing, while Spooky made a quick trip to the market to get dinner, I went through the ARC for A is for Alien, for the very last time before it goes to press, and found only four problems. I'll send the corrections to Bill at Subterranean Press as soon as I finish this entry. After dinner, Spooky and I began reading through The Red Tree, and managed all of the Preface and Chapter One. Lots of corrections. I think we finished with that just after 10 p.m. Oh, and this weekend Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) and Spooky dad, Richard, both read the ms. And they both loved it, and are helping with the proofreading. Hearing it aloud last night, I remembered again just how much this one means to me. Oh, and I think I'll repost the cover, for anyone who might have missed it on Saturday:

The Red Tree )


Also, we received the images for the artist interview for Sirenia Digest #36, the interview originally scheduled for #35. My thanks to both Heather Eve and Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark). So, yes, a very busy day yesterday (but it made up for Saturday, which was a bit of a washout). And I fear that it's going to be this busy all the way to December.

I played a couple hours' worth of WoW last night. Back to Shaharrazad, my blood-elf warlock, after three nights playing Mithwen, my night-elf fighter. I fear Shah is much closer to my heart, but I've probably said that already. Spooky ("Suraa") and I did some questing in Hillsbrad and the Alterac Mountains north of Tallin Mills, then slaughtered trolls in the Arathi Highlands, just because. And after WoW, we watched an episode of Firefly (the marvelous "Objects in Space") because I was exhausted and needed "comfort food" before bed.

I'm doing some concerted magickal work for the first time since October, mostly protective spells and wards and such. Getting a little Enochian. Crowley meets Wicca meets the Greek pantheon. Something like that. Nothing I want to go into detail about, just making the walls a little stronger, you might say. Anyway, now the platypus and the coffee are waiting for me. The day lies ahead.
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
A wonderful cool day here in Providence today. Only 77F out there as I type this.

Most of yesterday was spent re-reading Arthur Machen, in preparation for writing the introduction for Joshi that I should begin today, but will likely begin tomorrow, after more reading. I'd forgotten how much I adore Machen's "The Great God Pan." It's certainly not his best, and bears all the marks —— good and bad —— of the first important work of a very young author —— he was only 32 when it was first published in 1894, and in those days before the instant gratification of POD, 32 was young for an author. Truthfully, it still is. Anyway, I'd forgotten what a great influence the novella had on Peter Straub's brilliant Ghost Story (1979), which is essentially a 20th-Century retelling of "The Great God Pan" moved to upstate New York and writ large (and minus Machen's rather absurd proto-sf elements). Exchange Helen Vaughn/Mrs. Herbert/Mrs. Beaumont for Alma Mobley/Eva Galli/Angie Maul/Anna Mostyn, and maybe exchange Pan for the Manitou. For that matter, I'd not realized the degree to which Machen's story had so influenced a couple of my own short stories, including "Houses Under the Sea" (2004) and "Pickman's Other Model" (2008). Influences fascinate me, and as I almost never claim any attempt at originality, I have no qualms about pointing out those places where I have borrowed, intentionally or unconsciously, from another.

In Machen's introduction to the 1916 reprint of the story, he writes:

Stevenson [Robert Louis], I think, knew of the emotions which I am trying to express. To his mind the matter presented itself thus: there are certain scenes, certain hills and valleys and groves of pines which demand that a story shall be written about them. I would refine: I would say that the emotions aroused by these external things reverberating in the heart are indeed the story. But, our craft being that of letters, we must express what we feel through the medium of words. And once words are granted, we fall into the region of the logical understanding, we are forced to devise incidents and circumstances and plots, to "make up a story"; we translate a hill into a tale, conceive lovers to explain a brook, turn the perfect into the imperfect. The musician must be happier in his art, if he be not the sorry slave to those follies which mimic the lowing of cattle by some big brazen horn. The true musician exercises a perfect art; there is no descent into the logic of plots for him.

Which rather nicely sums up my thoughts on the artifice and contrivance of plot, the writer's sadly necessary evil, and I love that phrase, "...descent into the logic of plots...."

And today, it has been thirteen years since Elizabeth's suicide.

My thanks to everyone who commented yesterday, as the comments pretty much rendered moot any need for a poll. The journal will stay as is. Also, my great thanks to the few who have taken a moment to comment on Sirenia Digest #32, particularly on "Derma Sutra (1891)." It was one of those stories I was especially reluctant to show the world, and I have been heartened by the responses I've seen so far. More comments are welcome, of course.

Please have a look at the eBay auctions. And if you can, pre-order a copy of the forthcoming mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds. Also, be advised that subpress is accepting pre-orders for A is for Alien.

As for the rest of yesterday, not much to it. A quick trip through a thunderstorm to Borders. This dratted constant pain in my dratted face. Spooky made a really fine stew, mostly with stuff from our CSA bag —— green bell pepper, elephant kale, zucchini, tomatoes (fresh and canned), white mushrooms, patty-pan squash, white onion, garlic, chicken, and I won't even try to list the spices, because I'd only forget most of it. Later, we had a bit of Second Life rp in the Tower of Serpents in the "Kingdom of Sand" sim. Later still, we watched the last episode of Angel —— "Not Fade Away" —— as I wanted to see it before reading After the Fall.
greygirlbeast: (white)
So, here's the way I see it, and if I am wrong, someone can tell me so. You guys can either get an online journal wherein I occasionally say what I think on a diverse range of subjects not necessarily related to my writing (recently, and the cause of some strife, that Orson Scott Card is a raving homophobe, that I'll be voting for Barack Obama, and that Robert Jordan and Laurell K. Hamilton write "tripe"). OR, we have this other choice. I can keep my mouth shut, like I mostly used to do, and confine this blog to daily word counts and notices about our ongoing eBay auctions. Because you can't have it both ways. If I express my opinions —— which are often contentious, unpopular, unorthodox, whatever —— it is inevitable that I'll offend someone every few days. This morning I received a rather whiny email from someone claiming I'd hurt his feelings because of what I said about Jordan and Hamilton, and so he probably won't be buying any of my books. Night before last, one reader went ballistic in the journal comments over the fact that, while I condemn OSC's hate speech, I support the presidency of Barack Obama (seeing these two things as somehow inextricably linked). And it's true, I do not need to be alienating readers. But it's also true that when I do not give in to my tendency to be a mouthy bitch, this journal gets rather dull. So, which will it be? You want the somewhat unexpurgated me, or the utterly dull and inoffensive me? You can't say, we want you to be honest, then go off on me when you find something I say offensive. You are certainly entitled be be offended. But...this is my LJ, right? And the opinions expressed here are mine. Maybe I'll post a poll later —— reserved and inoffensive, or honest and often offensive. Let you guys decide. Right now, I'm just annoyed at the whiners who want me to know I've hurt their feelings...because, you know, I care.

I just got the news (thank you Doug Miller), via boingboing.net, that I am one of the thirty-one sf authors who will be discussed this month on the Science Fiction Message Board. Specifically, I have been assigned to August 23rd, or that day's been assigned to me, whichever. I'll post about this again nearer to the date, and here's the link to the announcement by Cory Doctorow. I was frankly amused at the person who complained about my inclusion on the list because I write "Vampire romance novels," when I've only written one vampire novel, sixteen years ago, and it wasn't very romantic.

Yesterday was an odd sort of day. A semi-day off, but at least I answered that mountain of email. Spooky baked some very yummy muffins for Lughnasadh (apple, cinnamon, walnuts, and dates). I loaded Sigur Rós' Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (2008) and Gordon Bok's Seal Djiril's Hymn (1972; my thanks to Sonya for this one) onto the iPod. I took a long, cool bath. That sort of rather aimless, laid-back sort of day. We get too few of those hereabouts. About 5:30, we headed to Beavertail for an informal Lughnasadh ceremony. And here things got a little derailed, and it was likely my fault.

I've always thought that the ruins of Fort Burnside (circa 1942, built to guard the minefield that was placed in Narragansett Bay during WWII) would be a wonderful place for ritual work, especially given that the two circular depressions that each once held a 3-inch gun have an odd and striking resemblance to a megalithic site, as does the old bunker. What I failed to take into account were the nosy people. Why I failed to take this into account is beyond me, as I know well enough that humans are pathologically incapable, in general, of minding their own damn business. As Spooky was beginning to cast the circle, some swamp-yankee goombah with a camera wandered up wanting to know what we were doing. As we worked, we attracted a smallish audience (a child's shrill and repeated scream, "Mommy! What are they doing?!"). And as we were heading back to the car, a woman approached (she was out walking her dog), and she said to Spooky, "I see you two are spiritual people." Spooky stopped to talk to her. I figured she was some harmless New Ager, so I busied myself putting things away. A few minutes later, Spooky shows up, grumbling, and tells me that the woman wanted to know if we'd "...ever thought about Jesus Christ, who created the sea?" It was all Spooky could do to keep me from going after the woman, I think. I was instantly livid. I swear to fuck, I considered making an impromptu human sacrifice to Panthalassa and all the hungry crabs and fishes.

I mean, what if I stood around outside some local Xtian church on Sunday, and when they exited, annoyed the congregation members with questions like, "Have you ever thought about the Morrigan, or Dionysus, or Brighid? What if someone who was Islamic, or Buddhist, or Hindu, or what-the-hell ever did such a rude, thoughtless, arrogant thing? Sure, I know why it's so, as I was raised Catholic and Methodist, but it is truly regrettable that so many Xtians are driven to evangelize, to witness, to annoy the shit out of the rest of us with their religion, when I'd never dare do such a thing. But I don't have to be happy about it. Afterwards, I was so angry I climbed down the cliffs to the sea, to a spot where the incoming tide was especially violent, slamming itself loudly against the rocks, slinging up spray ten or fifteen feet into the air. I sat there and watched the waves and tried not to hate that woman, who seemed to feel that we have so little conviction and so little right to privacy that she could approach us and ask such a goddamn, idiotic question. Spooky was much nicer to her than I'd have been, telling her "Many things made the sea." I'd have probably said, "Yeah, we did the Jesus thing, but, turns out, pagans get better sex. And, by the way, from that sour fucking look on your face, you could probably use some." We stayed with the sea until dark, then headed back to Providence, and got sandwiches from Eastside Market for dinner.

Oh, on the way down to Beavertail, we stopped at Newbury Comics in Warwick. I went in only meaning to get the new director's cut of Alex Proyas' Dark City (1998) and the newly released Doomsday (2008). But it is an evil, seductive place, and so we also picked up the hardback of Joss Whedon's Angel: After the Fall, Vol. 1 and a limited edition book/CD thingy Nick Cave has released to accompany Dig, Lazarus, Dig. Last night, we watched the new cut of Dark City, which runs 111 minutes, versus the theatrical release of 100 minutes. But, those restored eleven minutes make an already brilliant film far less choppy, more subtle, and give it quite a bit more depth. Also, the annoying opening voice-over that was forced on Proyas by the studio has been removed. At the time of the film's original release, I was a friend of a friend of the director's (well, technically, I still am), and knew that he was very displeased with the cut, especially with the voice-over, that gives away the film's fundamental mystery in the first minute. The restored footage concerning the whore's daughter (we don't even see that she has one in the 1998 cut) and Jennifer Connelly's character singing "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" (vocals performed by Anita Kelsey), were especially welcomed restorations. Anyway, I have always adored this film, and now I adore it even more.

Time to get back in the platypus saddle, back to work, and my thanks to Larry Roberts of Bloodletting Press for giving me a two-week extension on the introduction I agreed to write for S. T. Joshi's forthcoming Arthur Machen collection. Also, my thanks to Ernest Lilley (senior editor at SFRev) for sending me the following photos from my signing at Readercon 19. Spooky's even in most of them:

Readercon, July 18th, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
It is no secret that I am not a morning person. So, you'd think someone would have gotten around to telling Hubero this. If they did, he's chosen to ignore it. Which is to say, I finally gave up and crawled out of bed at 8 a.m. (CaST, so that's 7 a.m. EST). I sat here at my desk and watched the last bit of night turn to dawn. It was actually a very beautiful sunrise. All those shades of red-orange and purple-grey through the leafless trees. Bleak, but beautiful. I still would have preferred more than five hours sleep, if I'd had any say in the matter. Having distracted Master Hubero, I let Spooky sleep in until a little after ten. She probably needed it worse than I did, anyway.

I wrote 1,441 words yesterday on "Metamorphosis B" and finished it. It somehow manages to be dreadful and sexy at the same time, which pleases me.

Today, I will begin another new piece. All I know right know is that it will not be "Metamorphosis C," and that it's going to be male-on-male, as I've felt like I've owed certain Sirenia Digest readers a little of that flavour for some time now. Thing is, writing erotica the last year and a half, I have discovered something. It is almost impossible for me to write that which is not one of my kinks. And I have quite an enormous range of kinks, but manly man-on-manly man action is not one of them. I can do bois and girlie boys and so forth, but that's about it. Oh, penises are fine and dandy, especially if they wind up doing things evolution never intended them for, but I suck (so to speak) at the whole manly man thing. Which is odd, because all the cisgendered male lovers I've ever had were fairly manly men. At least, they thought so. And yes, I am straying into TMI territory. Sorry. I will return to this topic, this curious contradiction, some other time, perhaps.

Daughter of Hounds has been selling quite well at Amazon.com this weekend. At one point late yesterday, it made it up to 7,497 in the sales ranking, which is the best I've seen it do. My thanks to everyone who's pre-ordered. And if you haven't, the platypus says...well, never mind what the platypus says...but I would be very grateful if you did so. Thanks.

Also, for those who might be interested, please recall that the eBay auction for the last Daughter of Hounds ARC I have to sell ends sometime just after 10 p.m. this evening (CaST, so that just after 9 p.m. EST, or 6 p.m. PST — I think). That's about eleven hours from now.

Nothing much notable about yesterday. I'd not left the house since Tuesday evening. And it's not good when I get like that, when I get that bad, so Spooky made me go with her to get dinner last night. We watched Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' Little Miss Sunshine, which I loved almost unconditionally. Had it done nothing but reveal children's beauty pageants for the twisted freak shows that they are, it would be a fine, fine film, but it has quite a lot more to offer. Alan Arkin, a long time favourite, was brilliant, as was Steve Carell. Later, I played Final Fantasy XII (surprise), and then Spooky read me more of The Hobbit while I looked for inspiration (for whatever it is I'll be writing today) in H. R. Giger's Necronomicon II and a book on symbolist painters. That was yesterday, kaloo kalay.

This morning, while I watched night turn to day, I did some work on a Wikipedia dinosaur article, thus ending my seven-month hiatus from working on Wikipedia dinosaur articles.

And I was thinking, last night, recently both Poppy ([livejournal.com profile] docbrite) and Christa ([livejournal.com profile] faustfatale) have written about how blogging doesn't take time away from their actual for-real writing, and I was wishing I could say the same for myself. But I come to blogging as I come to everything — a little too intensely. I think I average about an hour a day on blog entries, though it is not uncommon to spend three hours in a twenty-four hour period on the LJ. Not reading other people's entries. Just writing my own. Because I have to write it and proof it and get it all just frelling right and check the facts and etc. & etc. And I've noticed that my entries have gotten rather long lately. So, maybe I'll try to keep them just a little shorter. Thing is, like Wikipedia (something I've also spent too much time on), I actually enjoy writing blog entries.

Okay. Now I need breakfast ramen and wasabi rice crackers and maybe more caffeine.
greygirlbeast: (Fran6)
Poking about the web yesterday, I came very unexpectedly upon a review of Silk and Murder of Angels at BlogCritics.org, the two books reviewed together. A right grand review, at that, which I'd never before seen, even though it was posted October 8th, 2004. Someone who — mostly — gets it, and the review is intelligent and insightful. Being described as "H.P. Lovecraft's spiritual granddaughter" made me smile for hours, even though I suspect I'd probably scare the bejesus out of poor old H. P. ("At least," says Spooky.) By the way, my offer of free signed copies of the tpb of Silk still stands for any new Sirenia Digest subscribers...by the way.

Today, I begin an experiment in which my usual morning post is replaced by an evening post. Here's the deal. There's so goddamn much work right now, the only hope I have of having time left to walk and exercise during the day is to bump the blog entry to the evening. And exercise I must. So, we'll see how this works out. But it's only temporary. I'm gonna go back to morning entries sometime this spring, at the very latest.

I wrote 1,188 words yesterday, and 1,341 today. Then Spooky and I spent the rest of the afternoon getting started on the proofreading of Low Red Moon for the mass-market paperback. We made it through the prologue and chapters One and Two. I had forgotten how much I love this book. At this point, it's my second favorite of my novels, after Daughter of Hounds. I do hope that this new edition (the third since 2003!), gives it another shot and a wider readership. Many typos and errors will be corrected in the text. Also today I dealt with the last bit of Tales from the Woeful Platypus, which is no longer mine to deal with. It's out of my hands now. Which is a relief. That's one thing off my plate.

In the comments to Tuesday's entry regarding my reworking of Wicca, my use of the Sindarin word sigil rather than the "traditional" athame for the black-handled ritual dagger, someone noted the parallel with the English word sigil and all its connotations (some of which I admit I find annoying, because of chaos magick's use of the word). Today, I recalled the name Sigel, which, despite spelling differences, is actually closer to a genuine homonym of the Sindarin sigil ("see-geel"). Sigel is the Old English incarnation of the Norse sun goddess Sól, which actually works out very nicely. I'm sure Tolkien must have been aware of this parallel.

Someone else asked what I thought would be left when I'd finished purging Wicca of all Gardner's Judeo-Xtian elements. Which is a good question. The answer is likely complex, though I might, for the time, say "Very little, I suspect." Indeed, so little will likely remain that I shall have to abandon the name Wicca in favour of something else. A lot of the elements in question are not only to be found in Wicca, but in NeoPaganism, in general. The pentagram or pentacle, for example. That's not a pagan symbol. Though it is not impossible to imagine that some Celtic or Norse or Eastern European architect or proto-mathematician might have stumbled upon this geometric configuration, it comes to Wicca directly from ceremonial magick, Freemasonry, the Order of the Golden Dawn, etc. Instead, I am employing a simple circle to define "sacred" ritual space. Many other basic elements of Wicca have already been discarded — calling to the four quarters, for example, another thing which Gardner borrowed from ceremonial magick. And the "Rede," which likely comes to Wicca via Aleister Crowley's formulation of the Laws of Thelema. The "Three Fold Law" seems more like a weird marriage of Buddhism and Xtianity than anything else, and is a concept which I find fundamentally absurd (for reasons discussed in earlier entries). Likewise, I have no use for Wicca's obsession with gender duality, which is, at best, dated and rendered irrelevant by transgenderism and over-population and a number of other things. At worst, it is sexist, homophobic, and skewed towards the cisgendered. The system which will work for me must regard gender not as a duality, but as a continuum.

So, as you can see, it looks less and less like Wicca all the time. I am keeping many of the ritual tools — the black-handled dagger (as mentioned above), the chalice (as it has mythic resonance beyond the Xtian "grail"), the cauldron, the broom, the altar stone, and so forth. In the end, this is about my belief that a) NeoPaganism should not be infused at every turn with Judeo-Xtian elements, b) that a Nature religion should be a Nature religion, reflecting the complexities of the natural world instead of outmoded human dualisms, and c) the belief that while a NeoPagan may reach back for myth and tradition and history, sheheit must also reach ahead. As I've said before, we need a paganism for the 21st Century, not the 17th or 5th.

We shall see where all this leads. Comments and feedback is welcome on all these points, by the way.

I'm still giving Heroes a chance. The last couple of episodes have hooked me again, as they have seemed less bland, less televisiony. Maybe I just have a crush on Hiro.

Oh! I almost forgot. I got Zoe, which pleases me immensely.

What Firefly Character Are You?



Zoe Alleyne
Above all things, you're tough. You're also very private and prefer to keep your personal life just that. You know what to do to get the job done, and can always be counted on. You may not have much of sense of humor, but you're strong, reliable, and loyal.
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by myYearbook.com
greygirlbeast: (decemberists)
I had what must have been one of the worst nightmares of my life this morning, which woke me about 8:00 a.m. My dreams have been unusually calm this trip, but that one more than made up for lost time.

Poppy and Christa commented recently on how blogging wasn't taking time from them that they might otherwise use for writing fiction. I wish I could say the same. For example, I spent more than four hours on yesterday's entry, having begun it about noon and finishing at (I wrote down the time) 4:17 p.m. That is an extreme case. On average, an entry takes me an hour and a half to two hours, between composition and editing and crossposting and such. I started this journal in November 2001 (over at Blogger, where it is now mirrored), just after the publication of Threshold and just before I started writing Low Red Moon. Since then, I've written about 2,000 entries. Originally, I'd only intended to chronicle the writing of LRM, but it just kept going and going and going. Anyway, yes, four hours yesterday, so I didn't begin the story I'd wanted to begin.

We stayed in yesterday, and will likely do the same today. Thursday's drive and the rushed tour of Cape Ann left us both feeling a bit pooped. The weather here is very nice, almost autumnal, and it's actually cool enough to remain indoors sans air conditioning. We did get ambitious late yesterday and drove to Narragansett for dinner at Iggy's. Afterwards, we drove down to Point Judith to watch the sunset, but there were far too many people. Spooky took me up to Bonnet Point, just because, and then we head back here. An astoundingly uneventful day. Very late we watched Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, and a very young Natalie Wood in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947).

For all the entries I've written detailing the more interesting bits of this Very Long Trip, I've managed to miss a couple of things:

7 August 2006: We returned to Watch Hill and walked down the narrow, winding road that leads out to the lighthouse at Watch Hill Point. No tourists. Only a few fishermen on the rocks. The sun was a great orange fireball sinking in purple clouds, and we sat down in the grass near the lighthouse and watched it setting behind Napatree Point and Fisher's Island (NY). Watch Hill Point has to be one of the most beautiful things we've seen this whole trip. The solitude was wonderful. The sea crashing against the breakers. A flock of swallows circling the lighthouse tower and a lone robin hopping about. There were dead horseshoe crabs here and there among the schist boulders, broken by the waves and picked apart by gulls. I just wanted to lie down and sleep in the cool, sea-damp air. Here are a few photos (behind the cut, of course):

photos )


31 July 2006: I set up my temporary office here in the cottage. Very late in the day, we drove to Moonstone Beach, just east of Green Hill, the site of a catastrophic heating-oil spill in 1997. The state has poured millions of dollars into enviromental restoration in the area, and most of the beach is still roped off, nesting area for birds from the Trustom Pond sanctuary. The sand is scattered with moonstones (orthoclase), from which the beach takes its name. They must be weathering out of a submarine exposure of igneous rock just offshore. There was also an extraordinary number of mermaid's purses, and we spotted three young Fowler's toads (Bufo fowleri) climbing back up towards the grass at the tops of the dunes seperating the beach from the marshes. The dirt road leading to the sea was lined with wonderful thickets of beach roses, the rosehips huge and ripe. The whole place seemed alive with a sort of wild magick. It made me giddy (and that's saying something). Photos behind the cut:

photos )


Okay. Now I really must do something that isn't related to this journal...
greygirlbeast: (multipass2)
What were my mornings like before the internet? Honestly, I can hardly remember. What were they like before blogging and this compulsion that drives me, almost every morning, to relate odd bits of the day before? Again, memory fails me. Is this merely a new incarnation of my old familiar exhibitionism? I can't say. But some days, like day, it seems damned absurd.

I did another 1,121 words yesterday on "The Cryomancer's Daughter." I like where it's going, but it's a strangely autobiographical piece. Perhaps I ought not admit that. But what's this thing for, this blog, if not the telling of secrets? Anyway, with luck, I'll be finished with "The Cryomancer's Daughter" by tomorrow evening, which will pretty much take care of Sirenia Digest #8. Then it's on to the vignettes for Tales from the Woeful Platypus.

Yesterday, I needed to find an author's photo for the dust jacket of Alabaster, so we ended up going through hundreds of photos from the Big Box of Photographs, 1991-2005. Which dredged up a thousand or so inconvenient and unwanted memories. And made me miss Nar'eth even more than I was already missing her. But we did finally find something for the dust jacket. So, at least all was not in vain.

More rain yesterday, towards nightfall. We walked through Freedom Park just after twilight, that thin place between twilight and true night, and the grass was wet and a light fog lay over everything. There were bats. And most of the day's heat, which has been lingering well into the evenings, had been driven away. Back home, we read. Since the birthday gift of Netflix, we've been spending entirely too much time watching movies. I futzed about with a Tarot deck. There was more limeade.

Today is cloudy, and it's a welcomed change from the white broiling skies we've had for days and days.

Almost all the eBay auctions are ending today, so please have a look. I'm a little surprised that no one's bid on the Silk hardback, signed by Poppy and Clive Barker and me. Occasionally, I get requests that I auction one of these, and when I finally break down and do it, no one bids. Oh, and I should repeat my congratulations and thanks to the winner of the Snapdragon auction. Anyway, yes, please have a look at the rest. Thanks. Now I have to see a man about a platypus...

Postscript: Frell. Just as I hit "save entry," FedEx pulled up and now the CEM of Daughter of Hounds is lying on my office floor. However, I shall not even open that huge white package until "The Cryomancer's Daughter" is finished.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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