greygirlbeast: (Eli1)


Now, that's bow tie.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, let's get this over and done with, and then we may proceed to your regularly scheduled blog entry. I expect it will be less painful that way. Well, less painful for me at least, and I know I'll be loads less distracted:

Booya! )


That said...or shown, or both, whatever...you know the lousy thing about incredible shit happening yesterday? The lousy thing about incredible shit having happened yesterday is that it's not happening today. Nonetheless, today I can lift up the blackness enough to peer out (though I do squint something fierce).

But, still, comment, kittens. And thank you for yesterday's comments.

Yesterday, we read chapters One and Two of Blood Oranges, and I can say, with great relief, that I still like this book a lot. It's about as far from The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir as you can get, but that's not a bad thing. I think I'd reached a point where I had to write something just for fucking fun. And Blood Oranges is fun. And it's even funny. I never fucking knew I had all this fucking funny in me. It's like discovering a strange boil behind your ear, and someone lances it, and out comes humor. I mean "ha ha" humor, not aqueous humour – though lancing a boil behind your ear and getting aqueous humour would be interesting. Anyway, with luck, the manuscript will be proofread and corrected and in Manhattan on Monday morning. I've dragged my feet on getting it to my publisher and editor. Well, no, I haven't. I've been too busy with my work for No Such Agency, and with Sirenia Digest, and with the trailer/still-photo project for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir that Blood Oranges just...sort of got lost in the shuffle. But now it's unlost. Today, we do chapters Three and Four, which will put us halfway through the novel.

I think I've decided to keep Kermit the iPad. He proved himself very useful editing yesterday. And so I'm rethinking this whole thing. But thank you, Cliff Miller. Thank you all the same.

Also, I saw a rough cut of the teaser for the trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir yesterday, and it's all I can do not to link to it here. Imagine the lovechild of Terrance Malick and David Lynch, and you're in the neighborhood. Thank you, Brian and Kyle. This is going to be so fucking wonderful. I also spoke with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and [livejournal.com profile] kambriel yesterday about shooting additional footage this winter in Philadelphia, and it seems like it'll happen. We'll be holding eBay auctions, props and such (a large moonstone signed by the whole cast & crew, etc.) from the first shoot, to fund that, and I'll keep you posted. Thing is, to quote Imp:

“I’m going to write a ghost story now,” she typed.
“A ghost story with a mermaid and a wolf,” she also typed.
I also typed.


Well, we have tons of mermaid/water footage, the Saltonstall stuff, but the wolf part has been sorely neglected, and for that we need winter, and snow, and a big wolf-like dog for the Perrault stuff, and we can make these things happen this winter in Philadelphia. So, yeah. Another shoot lies ahead. Which fills me not in the least with dread. It pleases me.

Last night, we proved that one meatloaf can be stretched out over four dinners and one midnight sandwich. Spooky has some mean Loaf Fu. We played some Rift. I'm obsessed with getting Selwynn glorified with the Icewatch in Iron Pine Peak, so...lots of dailies. Or, in my case, nightlies. Later, I read aloud to Spooky from John Steinbeck's The Log From the Sea of Cortez. Despite my love for Steinbeck and his Cannery Row books, I've never read this book, but found an old copy at Spooky's parents and borrowed it on Sunday (a copy that sold new in trade paperback for $1.45 in 1962). It begins with Steinbeck's "About Ed Ricketts" essay/eulogy, and, so far, I've managed not to cry. In another life, I might have been someone as good and useful to the world as Ed Ricketts. I like to think that.

It occurs to me, apropos of nothing in particular, that there's no point whatsoever in having a cake if you can't eat it, too.

Wanting Cake, Black Forest,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
My morning was going rather shitty (resuming a course begun last night), but then I saw someone refer to Orson Scott Card as a "howling bigoted douchemonkey," and I almost laughed, and now I feel a little better. Also, I've been sleeping like crazy, which is a tad bizarre. Vaults of sleep. Too much wandering in the watery Dreamlands. These days, always do I dream of water. Also, I might be getting a headache.

Yesterday, I did a metric shit-ton of work on those acoustic particle destab...wait. What was I saying? I knew a moment ago, then there was this bright flash before my eyes, and now I have no idea whatsoever. That is so fucking weird. It just keeps happening. But...um...yeah, I did a lot of work yesterday. And I sent "John Four" to S. T. Joshi, who wanted to read it. If he decides to reprint it for a forthcoming anthology, I might decide to expand it a bit (because, you know, spare time spills forth from my asshole). And I emailed Michel Zulli. And I received news from Penguin that the delayed (by a hurricane) CEM for The Drowning Girl should arrive here today. I'm praying it got fucking lost somewhere in Connecticut, and will remain so for at least a week*.

And you know, a leech (Hirudinea) is such an honest organism, even among other oligocheates. No frills, no fussing about with frippery.

This society needs less enthusiasm, less opportunity to express its opinion, and more time spent in quiet reflection.

Oh, last night? Thank you for asking. Perfectly wretched, but, truly, I've no one to blame but myself. I would say there was lousy RP in Insilico last night, but that would imply there was RP in Insilico last night, and there wasn't. Yet, for some psychotic reason, I waited around for more than two hours. Oh, yes. Because there was supposed to be RP. But...whining ooc drama trumps all else in SL, and almost all the good RPers have flung themselves into the abyss of the virtual bureaucracy of sim administration...which means they rarely have time to RP...and really, that was only the tip of how everything kept going crappy last night.

But! All was not lost. I had Valium and Vincent D'Onofrio! And Vincent D'Onofrio makes even the most sour night a little less so. An "actor's actor," I have heard him called, even as I have been called a "writer's writer." These, kittens, are what are known as backhanded compliments, or consolation prizes, or what the fuck ever. But! Just give me ponygirls, a glass dildo, and the brain of Vincent D'Onofrio, and you'll hear not one complaint from me. Oh, and a little Oxycodone. That would sweeten the pot, yes.

Oh, I also read another story from The Book of Cthulhu, W. H. Pugmire's "Some Buried Memory," which was delicious, because Pugmire is brilliant. Alas, there are not many more good stories in this (largely) reprint anthology that I've either not read previously or which I won't deign to read. Here's my thing (as Lara Means would say): Except in extraordinarily rare instances, you either approach the work of Lovecraft with a straight face, or you leave it the hell alone. Bring humor and parody to the table, and usually you'll make a fool of yourself and embarrass others. Bring irony, that's worse still. Do it right, or don't do it, but for fuck's sake, stop with the attempts at too-cool-for-school hipster and/or pseudo-intellectual comedy. There have been exceptions, a tiny handful, such as Neil's "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar." As the Mythbusters say, these exceptions are not something you should try at home. Keep your cuddly Cthulhu slippers and plushie Azathoths to yourselves and far away from me. Anyway, too much of The Book of Cthulhu is given over to the funny which is not funny. There are probably half a dozen good stories I've yet to read, at best. Which is a shame.

Did I mention Vincent D'Onofrio?

Dry and Humorless,
Aunt Beast

* It's here. Let this fresh hell begin.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,689 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges. The chapter is now about halfway finished, but I'm clearly going to have to set it aside and attend to Sirenia Digest until #68 goes out to subscribers.

Yesterday's pages were...different. Grimmer (or at least gorier) than most of this book has been. But as Spooky pointed out, still funny. It's a strange, strange trick – for me – that this book is being used to turn. Anyway, when I say funny I do not necessarily mean guffaw funny. Maybe sometimes I do. Maybe. More often than not, I mean the sort of funny that brings a knowing smile. I'm not a comedian. Remember the scene in Pulp Fiction (1994) when Vince accidentally blows Marvin's head off? The scene is funny as hell. I'd like to think that when this book will make you "laugh out loud," it'll be because a scene or a line of dialogue worked like Marvin's unfortunate head. The way that scene worked. Or, better still, the funnier stuff that followed immediately afterwards. Or Vince and Jules trying to wash Marvin's blood off their hands in Jimmie Dimmick's sparkling suburban bathroom:

The actual scene I'm referring to here is behind the cut:

Pulp Fiction 74 )

Now...it's trickier than this. Much so, actually. Because Quentin Tarantino, he had your eyes on his side. He had Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta and the film's camera crew and editors. Tarantino had delivery, inflection, subtle and not so subtle facial expressions, a whole bag chocked full of visual aids (the bloody towel is, for example, hilarious). But if you are one of the three people on Earth who have never seen the film (well, shame the fuck on you), odds are this scene might read rather flatly. Even though (I shit you not, as Siobahn Quinn would say), "I watched you get 'em wet," is one of the funniest lines ever uttered in any film.

Coming to Blood Oranges, I was well aware of my handicap. No visual aids. No actors bringing their talents to bear on the problem at hand. Just me, and me, and me, and a whole lot of words. If I can't make you see it the way I need you to see it, make you hear it as I intend it to be heard, and so forth...all attempts at humor will fall flat.

There's a reason I've never tried this trick before. Well, hardly ever have I tried it. Anyway, thing is, Pulp Fiction, though very funny throughout, isn't actually a comedy (and if you throw out that "dramedy" shit, I'll punch you in the face; sorry, that's what Quinn would have said...or Jules Winfield...or Vince Vega). And see, Blood Oranges isn't actually a comedy....

Comedy and horror live right next door. Hell, most times, they share a bunk.

***

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus commented, regarding the WFA nomination for The Ammonite Violin & Others, "Who would have thought that an online poll to start up a few monthly vignettes would have led to all this?" And I realized that, in effect, Sirenia Digest has been nominated for a World Fantasy Award. Which left me completely stunned and delighted.

Oh, and you sorry-ass Russian hacker scum, I can only hope that every time you close your goddamn eyes, you see this staring back at you:



Stunned,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Finally, finally April is here. At the end of May. Temperatures in the high and mid '70s F. The windows are open. The birds are tweeting. The squirrels are fucking. This makes everything better.

Okay, kittens. I haven't actually seen any squirrels fucking. That's an inference, I admit.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,392 words on Blood Oranges. I have never before written anything so funny that Spooky couldn't read it aloud, or that had me laughing so hard I was in tears. So that was strange. Oh, and if you buy into that old adage that it's bad to be the sort of person who laughs at her own jokes, you're a moron. Or at least deluded. If it doesn't make me laugh, how can I expect it to make anyone else laugh? I have about 3,500 words to go to finish Chapter Two, which is maybe two days worth of hard writing, a big push. Then, Sirenia Digest #67! Whoosh!

Just learned that we'll be seeing Brendan Perry and Robyn Guthrie in Boston next week! Woosh!

I must tell you, also, that Spooky is having a CRK's Birthday Sale on her jewelry and one doll (Cassandra) at her Dreaming Squid and Sundries Etsy shop, and shipping is FREE, and everything selling fast, so have a look. You really need to see her new Alice's Adventures in Wonderland glass-vial pendants. There's a coupon code you'll need to use at checkout: CRKBIRTHDAY

Last night's dinner (at India on Hope Street) went very, very well. Joshi and his girlfriend, Mary, along with Johnathan Thomas, and Brian Evenson. Oh, and me and Spooky, of course. Much delicious food was eaten, and there was marvelous conversation while a Bollywood film played in the background. I think I'll have a photo to post eventually. Mary took it, so I have to wait for her and S. T. to get back to Seattle.

And then there's tomorrow. The 47th birthday. The day on which I am to be 47 years and 9 months old (I always force myself to include those 9 months, and no, that doesn't change my pro-choice stance). As Jada said to me recently, "Who'd have ever thought we'd make it this long?" Which is pretty much my sentiment. It wasn't supposed to go this way, but this way it has gone.

I really am beginning to think I might have broken my left big toe while we were in Manhattan. A sane, not impoverished, well-insured person would go to the doctor for X-rays and whatnot and incur a thousand dollar bill to learn nothing can really be done. Not I, said the Little Red Hen*. Me, I just take Tylenol and marvel at how much a toe can hurt.

Last night, after we got home, we Rifted (new verb) and Selwyn and Miisya, with the help of [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus's rogue, Celinn, quested in the beautiful wilds of Ironpine Peak. The most amazingly realized region I've seen in Rift (or any other game). Miisya reached Level 42. I took some screencaps I'll post in a day or two. Also, hey, WE HAVE A GUILD and YOU COULD BE PLAYING WITH US. No fooling. I don't believe for a New-York minute that there are not many gamers among my readers. And if you're not sure Rift is your thing, there is now a FREE trial. Oh, last night at dinner I learned that Brian Evenson is also an MMORPG geek, so I felt not so alone and nerdy.

Okay. Gotta make the doughnuts.

Laconically,
Aunt Beast

* Yeah, yeah. Poetic license.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Passed out last night as soon as Spooky stopped reading, which must have been about 3:15, or maybe 3:30. So, lots of sleep, and I'm sort of disoriented. We tried a new schedule last night, Rift then movie, instead of the other way round, with reading remaining as the thing that's done just before sleep. I doubt that had anything to do with me crashing like that. I'm just exhausted. But the new arrangement did seem to get us into bed earlier, and I was more awake while we played. Selwyn and Miisya are both Level 41 now.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,720 words on Blood Oranges. Also, [livejournal.com profile] sovay read Chapter One and approved.

I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking about how this book began (as a joke in the blog) and what it is now. And about comedy. And parody. And such. See, I maintain that it's very hard to do comedy at length. Usually, comedy (in the funny hah-hah, not the Greek dramatic sense) can only be maintained for a short time, after which it simply ceases to be...funny. Example: Back in the late '70s and early '80s, during the Golden Age of Saturday Night Live, I never missed an episode. But, they often had this problem where a skit was fucking hilarious for, say, ten minutes, but it went on for twenty. As though they'd begun a really good joke, but had no idea where the punchline lay. So, that's one reason I fear comedy. Timing is everything. And – if you ask me – comedy should pretty much never be used for "relief," as it often is. Here's an example, from Alien: Resurrection. Number 8 has just torched the lab where deformed Number 7 lay in unimaginable agony. Big, horrific, emotional scene. Then:

Johner (Ron Perlman) looks in at the burning lab.

JOHNER

What's the big deal? Fucking waste of ammo.

CHRISTIE (Gary Dourdan)

Let's go.

JOHNER

Must be a chick thing.


Now, this is exactly what you never do with comedy – or almost never. There aren't hard and fast guidelines, because this is art, not craft. But you do not use it to sabotage a scene this way, to pull the reader/audience back from the precipice of...oh, I don't know...feeling something genuine that might make them uncomfortable? Joss Whedon (whom I generally adore) can be especially bad about this. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series) is a study in using the funny to trip yourself up as a storyteller. Comedy has a place, but it's place isn't everywhere all the time, and it's place isn't as an upper in the middle of a downer. Levity should not always be injected. Dilution is not mandatory. Tension may be allowed to build (and often should be), until it is all but unendurable. In a very dark film, comedy should only be injected in very rare, case-by-case situations. As it is, the relationship between horror and comedy is so intimate that they both become, at times, almost indistinguishable – without intentionally shoving one into the other.

All this is relevant because, like "The Maltese Unicorn," Blood Oranges began life as one thing, a one-line joke, and it's sort of becoming another thing. I don't precisely know the word for that something. A lot of it's funny, but I never force it to be funny, and at times it's very grim. It constantly takes jabs at the genre, but is very much working inside that same genre. It's not a spoof, a satire, or a parody (even if that was the original idea). It's more like what Tarantino is doing with, say, Kill Bill. Which gets complicated when you try to explain it, but looks easy as hell on the screen.

Can you imagine a 100-k word one-liner?

I'll come back to this.

Anyway....

Saw Brad Anderson's Transsiberian (2008) last night. A very taut thriller. Which, by the way, didn't constantly pause to shoot itself in the foot with comedic relief. I think it's the best thing I've seen Ben Kingsley do, the best performance I've seen him deliver, since Sexy Beast (2000).

Sunny and essentially warmish today.

Now, I should go. We're having dinner tonight with S. T. Joshi. And there are words in my way.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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