greygirlbeast: (Walter1)
Well, fuck. It's almost 2 p.m. (CaST), and somehow the day is slipping past on filthy little cat feet – fuck you, Carl Sandburg, you sentimental twatwaffle. Okay. Definitely didn't mean to begin this entry that way. But, as Longbaugh reminds me, "I think a plan is just a list of things that don't happen."

Yesterday, I wrote nothing. I sat here and thought about things I should have begun writing two days ago. Finding stories. I also made a flaccid attempt at cleaning my office. I decided that if snow is the dandruff of Ceiling Cat, dust is the dandruff of Basement Cat. I stacked up manuscript boxes that need to go to storage (various incarnations of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, typescripts and galleys). I shelved a couple of books, and then I gave up.

I read Jack McDevitt's "The Cassandra Project" (2010) and Vylar Kaftan's "I'm Alive, I Love You, I'll See You in Reno" (also 2010). Both had kernels of magnificence trapped deep inside. Both were far too short, felt like outlines, and were almost entirely devoid of voice. I'm not sure if it's true that "Science fiction is the literature of ideas" (not sure, either, who first said that, and if you can figure it out for me, you get a banana sticker), but I don't think they meant that all you need is an idea*. At least, I hope that's not what he or she meant. I look back to Philip K. Dick, William Gibson's early work, Ray Bradbury, Jack Vance, Robert Silverburg, Ursula K. Le Guin, Frank Herbert, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Michael Moorcock, Harlan Ellison...long, long list...and there is style. Voice. Good writing. Not this no-style style. From recent samplings, I fear that too much of contemporary science fiction has all the flavour of a stale communion wafer, and is just as flat. Sorry. Gratuitous (but true) Catholic reference. Where are our prose poets? Why doesn't the language used to convey the idea matter? It's not entirely true to say it's completely absent from contemporary sf. We have the brilliance of China Miéville, for example. But for fuck's sake, the short fiction I'm reading...communion wafers.**

I only just learned that Etta James has died.

I think my diet is killing me.

The snow is so bright out there, I had to shut the curtain in my office. It's getting better, though, as the wide carnivorous sky is being decently obscured by clouds. I didn't leave the house yesterday, but Spooky did, and she took photos, which you can see behind the cut (below), along with a photo from the day before of a typical Providence grey squirrel, all of which have become absurdly obese of late, in this oddly snow-free winter. Oh. By the way. Yesterday was National Squirrel Appreciation Day. I shit you not. Let’s hear it for Sciuridae.

Last night, we watched last week's episode of Fringe. A marvelously tangled web. And yeah, it's not great science fiction, but it doesn't claim to be, and, even so, it does have a flavour.

Fat Squirrel + 21 January 2012 )


I Taste the World,
Aunt Beast

* Possibly, it was Pamela Sargent. Or, possibly, she appropriated it from Isaac Asimov.
** Near as I can tell, this has always been the case with "hard" and "military" sf.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Very, very cold here in Providence (25F, feels like 14F) with an overcast sky.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,858 words on Chapter Three (3) of The Drowning Girl. As it stands, I'm 20,970 words into the manuscript, which means I'm probably somewhere between one third and one quarter of my way to THE END, if upon this book's completion it's going to look like I think it will— which, of course, it might not.

And I got some work done for Two Worlds And In Between.

And then we had Spooky's "Five Legged Stew" for dinner, and watched Michael Winterbottom's Jude (1996). It's a breathtaking, devastating film. But, then, I've always had a thing for Thomas Hardy. And, of course, the casting of Christopher Eccleston in the title role doesn't hurt.

Yesterday morning, there was the beginning of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and just before dinner, more of China Miéville's The Kraken (a book I desperately wish I'd written, but, if I had, it would have had none of The Kraken's wonderful humour).

There was a little WoW. I meant to mention yesterday another thing about the Cataclysm expansion that has disappointed me. Silvermoon, the Eversong Woods, and Tranquillien seem to be stuck back at the Burning Crusade expansion. Near as I can tell, time's standing still there, and no one's even heard of all the late unpleasantness with Arthas, much less the sundering of the world by that pesky Neltharion. I suspect the same may be true of the Draenei starting area...and I think I even see why, but it seems a shame, when almost all the world has been revamped and updated, Silvermoon is still mired where it is.

I've slipped back into the Insilico rp the last couple of nights. Part of me needs it, but I'm not yet sure I have the requisite energy to sustain it, what with so much writing to be done. I don't think of rp as writing, not exactly. It's more what I've called improvisational theatre, but it requires much of the same talents and can make you weary pretty much the same way, if you're doing it right. SL isn't any better than it ever was, a technological marvel that will never realize one tenth its true potential. But as long as I interact with a very small number of people (right now, only two others), I can ignore the rabble. The white noise. The goofiness. Grendel's still pregnant (three months now). Molly's going back to work for the Big Bad. Et cetera. Our little cyberpunk soap opera.

Before sleep, Spooky read to me from Angela Carter. I'm sleeping a little better. No sleeping pills for three nights now.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
All my best lives are lived in dreams.

Yesterday, being a day off, was, in the main, unremarkable, which is about the best I seem able to hope of my days off. (This is my journal and I may sound glum if I wish, and bugger off if you think any otherwise.)

There was torrential rain, and ferocious wind. The weather always becomes more interesting with the judicious application of adjectives.

I wore my pajamas all day, and we finished listening Madelaine L'Engle read A Wrinkle in Time. I may fundamentally disagree with L'Engle's cosmogony, which is distinctly Xtian, but I love this book, all the same. There was ramen for breakfast. There were brownies later on, and there was Chinese takeout for dinner. Late, there were those little Mystic frozen pizzas. There was a lot of WoW, because the weather was too crappy to venture out. Eyes of Sylvanas is beginning to feel a little like an actual guild, and there's talk of some coordinated play. We currently have 29 toons signed up. I finally got back to China Miéville's The Kraken, which I rather inexplicably set aside after the chaos of the Portland trip at the start of October. I took a nap in front of the fireplace. Spooky and I watched David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986) again. Not sure which of us has seen it the most times, we've both seen in so many times. Just before sleep, Spooky read to me from Angela Carter.

Spooky has played a Worgen through the starting area, from Gilneas to Teldrassil. And, I quote, "That was so bad I wanted to die." So, I stand by my earlier assessment. Yes, Gilneas is beautifully designed. But the Worgen are a huge disappointment. Not scary. Not fun to play. Ridiculous to look at. And why do the females stand upright, while the males lurch and slump? The XX chromosomes must somehow protect the spine and pelvis of female werewolves. For that matter, the same is true of the trolls, now that I think of it. And if the Forsaken can be cannibals and scavenge their human kills, who don't the Worgan? Are furries too squeamish? Or is it because the Worgan are Alliance? Yet, I will say that it would be nice if Blizzard would gift the faux Brit accents of the Worgan and the people of Gilneas to the humans of Stormwind...who either sound like rednecks or Ned Flanders.

Today, I'm going to begin listening to the unabridged audiobook of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

And begin Chapter Three of The Drowning Girl. In which Imp may attempt to tell one version of the truth.

Last night, a curious thing occurred to me. These days, most of my favorite musicians are men, and most of my favorite authors are women. It wasn't always this way. In the 90s, most of the musicians I listened to were women, and when I was a teenager, my favorite authors were male. So, not sure what to make of this. A statistical burp, and probably nothing more.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
First things first. Gimp sucks gangrenous donkey ass. Really, I spent half of yesterday fighting with it, trying to finish up the layout on Sirenia Digest #58. Not a speck of intuitive design anywhere in the goddamn programme. Not a whit. I so miss Photoshop 7 (which, you will recall, was rendered useless when I updated to OS X 10.6.3).

So, I'll likely be buying the dumbed-down version of Photoshop, as soon as I am able.

Anyway...on the subject of Sirenia Digest, thanks to Gordon Duke for helping me get it out last night. I swear this issue was cursed. But, by now, all subscribers should have it. Comments would be lovely. Thanks.

Yesterday is a veritable blur. Something very, very cool happened. Potentially very cool. But right now it's a Secret. There was a very cool phone call, and I'll talk about it whenever I am able. There was also a lot of email. No, more than that. A lot a lot. The phone call and all the emails and fighting Gimp to get the digest out. That was pretty much yesterday.

Oh, and did I mention I had a great meeting with an editor from Dark Horse during the HPLFF? Well, I did. More on that as it develops.

I did also pause to take stock of how many short stories I've been commissioned to write between now and the end of 2011. I'm going to be very busy, but very busy is good. And I have to get the Next Novel written. I've asked that the deadline be extended again. I think this is the third extension. I'm losing track, and I'm losing patience. Fortunately, my agent and editor seem a little more patient with me than I am. So, the deadline for Whatever The Next Novel Will Be Called is now March 1, 2011, which means the earliest you can expect it in bookshops is probably late autumn 2011. We call this optimism, the mothmen and I.

I was going to write more about Portland, but it's getting late, so that's going to have to wait until tomorrow. Hopefully, the impressions won't fade. And there are more photos below, behind the cut.

Oh, and a big thank you to Steven Lubold for another wonderful package, which included a copy of Slicing the Silence: Voyaging to Antarctica (Harvard University Press). Which I intend to read as soon as I finish China Miéville's The Kraken. Which I am loving, by the way.

---

We watched the new episode of Glee last night, and, well, it was troubling. These guys have probably said it all better than I will, but here I go anyway. The series has always teetered on the edge of smarm. Somehow, that's usually part of its wonky appeal. But last night, not only did it cease to teeter and plunge head first into insipid greeting-card sentimentality, it also spent an hour hassling atheists. Or, as the Brits say, god bothering. I love that term. Finn sees Jesus in a grilled cheese, and embarks on a journey into magical thinking. And, somehow, this is a set up for an episode that does it's best to convince us that we should all believe in "god" because it makes life easier than it is when you don't believe in god. Yes, it was that stupid. Also, I have to point out that— despite the fact that Ryan Murphy is gay, and one reason I love the show is that it's so queer friendly —there's something disturbing about the episode's choice of atheists. Kurt, a gay character. And Sue Sylvester, who's played by an openly lesbian actress. Now, I'm almost certain the creators of the show didn't intend to send the message that gays are godless infidels who need to be prayed for and saved and all that crap, but that's still the message that the episode sends. That, and how religious harassment is acceptable, and the separation of Church and State is repressive, and it's okay for school councilors to preach to students, and...well, lots of this sort of shit. The episode stopped just short of forcing Kurt to recant his atheism, but, for fuck's sake, that horrid scene between Sue and her older sister. It was superficial and nauseatingly insincere. Also, while Glee usually bends over backwards to be multi-cultural, only Judeo-Xtianity seems to be acceptable brands of spiritualism. There was a Sikh woman, the acupuncturist treating Kurt's dad, but she was sort of treated as a quack.

It could have been an interesting episode dealing with belief and the lack thereof. It could have looked at both intelligently without condemning or proselytizing. It failed miserably on both accounts. I love this show, but last night's episode was almost enough to make me stop watching.

---

And to end this entry on a less sour note, here are more HPLFF photos, shots of the Hollywood Theater and of some of the slides that appeared before the films. Oh, and one from my keynote speech. By the way, clips from Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown were shown each night, and it's weird as hell seeing myself projected twenty-feet high:

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 2 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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