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: (Ellen Ripley 2)
Er...even though I hardly slept and rose too early (around eleven ayem.), I'm running late. So this will be a short entry. I'm pretty sure few will be annoyed by that, as LJ is dying, and even I, the lowly rat, is readying to leave this sinking ship. How do I know LJ is dying? All I have had to do is watch the decline in my Friends' List (they've deserted LJ en masse this past year), and the decline in comments. LJ is now mostly for slash fic and 'shipper communities. Oh, I have to keep going here until February 13th, so that I'll have blogged here one full year without missing a day. But I've already moved most of my LJ to Dreamwidth (along with comments). I tried TypePad, but found it unfathomably complex and counter-intuitive. If I can't solve a problem on my own, without recourse to "tutorials," I have no interest in it; always have I been this way, since I taught myself to read before kindergarten. Anyway, fuck you in both ears and twice on Sunday Facebook, and fuck you Twitter, you shallow, instant-gratification, no-effort-required motherfucker.

Now I've gotten that out, an exciting bit of news regarding The Drowning Girl, which is Thing #2 that I was waiting for the go-ahead from my agent yesterday before announcing; I only got the go-ahead about ten minutes ago. It was an uncommonly complex process, getting permission to release this news. But! The Drowning Girl audiobook (I don't hate audiobooks the way I hate ebooks, you may recall), will be released as part of the Neil Gaiman Presents (!!!!) series, which is likely to give the book a huge boost in sales and readership (or listenership). It also gives me veto/approval of readers, and they are open to my suggestions for readers, and receptive to the idea that I want a reading not a dramatization. I've known this for at least a month, but finalizing and all takes forever. So, woot, and thank you, all involved.

Yesterday, I wrote another 1,178 words on "Another Tale of Two Cities." Spooky says "It's like Dr. Seuss, only very dark and for grownups." Me, I have no idea what she's talking about, except I did do an entire panel at Readercon 21 on Dr. Seuss as weird fiction. And "Another Tale of Two Cities" (to appear in Sirenia Digest #72) is definitely weird fiction.

This is your LAST and FINAL notice about Question @ Hand #5, because I'm weary of nagging. A number of people who promised responses haven't yet delivered, which is a shame. I have four; I need at least seven. So, I'm extending the deadline until Friday (but that's not an excuse to drag your feet), since I'm probably not going to get the digest out until Saturday (the 10th, as announced earlier), anyway. I'd really love to see more replies. This isn't rocket science. It's only mad science.

Last night, after pizza and Rift, I finished the biography of Barnum Brown. Wonderful book, wonderful man. I finally fell asleep about about five ayem to Hud (1963), an old favourite. Spooky just told me Harry Morgan has died at age 96. I admire greatly that he never once appeared on a talk show.

Mourning That Which Is Passing Away, Into The West, Like The Elves
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
0. Comments, please. Prove to me LJ is not dead (again). I'm sick to death of self-fulfilling prophecies. You comment, I'll reply. Cause and effect.

1. Never, ever tell people on Facebook that "A release date has been set for the release on my first studio CD since 1999, which is called LOVEAMOEBA (band of the same name). TBA." Because, while this looks, to me, like a very obvious practical joke, many other people will appear to take it seriously. C'mon, guys. Loveameoba? No. Anyway, apologies. This whole humor thing, this beast has yet to master it in any way as to please anyone but herself.

2. I dozed off sometime after four, and woke at nine. Ayem, that is. If there's a part of me that doesn't hurt, please write my brain a letter to that effect. Er...wait. No, if there's a bit of my anatomy that is not in agony, it needs to send a telegram to my brain. Oh, wait. I mean, it needs to phone home. Oh...shit. I mean, it needs to twat at my brain. Yeah, that's what I mean. Hold on. What year is this?

3. A long phone call with my agent yesterday, at 2 CaST (1 EST), regarding Blood Oranges, ebooks, The Drowning Girl, etc. & etc. The usual. It seemed like we talked for an hour, though I suspect it was more like twenty minutes. Still feels like an hour. Afterwards, I discovered I was still so disgusted with the travesty that is "Sexing the Weird" that I couldn't even think about writing. I went with Spooky while she ran errands, instead. Sometimes, even the bland light of late autumn in Providence is better than the light of this monitor.

4. So, yeah. A Question @ Hand will be posted here tomorrow. All replies will be screened and will be confidential. The ten responses that please me the most will appear in Sirenia Digest #72. Anyone with any last moment ideas should post them here today. You know, like "If a circle of Dante's hell were to be designed especially for me, what would it be like?" Or "If you were to choose me as the test subject for an experiment involving the effects of a genetically designed parasite, what would the organism be, and what effect would it have upon me?" See. That sort of thing.

5. If I cannot put it on my shelf, it's not book. And no, placing a Kindle or a Nook or a whatever on the shelf doesn't count. Call it a data-storage or media delivery device. I have no problem with that. But it's not a book.***

6. Later this week Kathryn will be beginning a new round of eBay auctions (the first in a long time), and we'll be including ONE signed copy of The Drowning Girl ARC. Be the first on your block and all that.

7. Last night we played too much Rift again, but this time with a new guild member, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack. I dusted off my Eth warrior, Indus, and it was pretty fucking cool tanking for a change. Watchers of the Unseen (Defiant side, Faeblight shard) is always looking for new members, especially those interested in RP.

8. I'm ending the Aunt Beast Book of the Month Club. Results were, at best, mixed. And I think I never recovered from that Carrie Ryan fiasco.

9. The postman just brought Nos. 1 and 2 (Fall 2010 and 2011) of Centipede Press' The Weird Fiction Review. No. 2 includes the first print appearance of my story, "Fish Bride." And, honestly, the Review is a gorgeous thing, more in the fashion of an academic literary journal than a pulp magazine. I'm very impressed. Oh, also, I've sold a poem I wrote last year, "Atlantis," to Strange Horizons. This is the first time I have ever actually sold a poem. Sure, I included "Zelda Fitzgerald" in Tales of Pain and Wonder, but that's different.

Epilogue:

Would you leave me if I told you what I've done?
And would you leave me if I told you what I've become?


~ and ~

You can't choose what stays and what fades away. ~ Florence + the Machine

Anger's Little Petri Dish,
Aunt Beast

*** Please comment on things besides ebooks. Thank you.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
The way I feel this morning, well, this is what three days of heftier-than-usual-Valium doses and pretty much no sleep does to a body. Or to mine. Maybe you could sail through it without batting an eye. Me, I feel like a bus hit me. Twice.

So, I just have to stay awake until two ayem or so. I think it's time to reset my clock again. Staying up far, far too late. The meds, they can't do overly much about that.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I have the new Decemberists EP, Long Live the King (plus accompanying awesome T-shirt), and great thanks to [livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59 for sending it our way. Right now, "E. Watson" is my hands-down favorite track (in two days, I've listened to it 42 times, according to iTunes).

Hallways, always.

Following the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE, which I linked to in yesterday's entry...well, following that was quite a lot of distraction and chaos (many, many thanks, kittens, for all the comments). No surprise. Wonder what's going to happen next Wednesday? Anyway, there was also a very long call from my agent, with some very, very good news (though I can't share any of that at this time). Many subjects were discussed. But, what with this and that, Spooky and I didn't finish with the line edits to Blood Oranges; that's what we'll do today, then send the manuscript to Merrilee (my agent).

This morning, I received Vince's pencils for the illustration to accompany "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W" in Sirenia Digest. It's gonna be a great illustration; I need to get some notes back to him on it. Also, I owe a long email to The Drowning Girl cinematographer, Brian Siano, and...well, other emails. I've also got to begin talking promotion with the PR guy that Dark Horse has assigned to the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE. So, I'm pretty spoken for today. Yep. Oh! And, yesterday, I got my comp copies for The Crimson Alphabet chapbook, and they are gorgeous!

Wow. I'd be in a good mood if this "I feel like I'm dying and back again" thing would stop. Oh, and Spooky's reading the Wikipedia article on Christina Hendricks, because she's a letch. Spooky, I mean. I have no intel as to whether or not Christina Hendricks is a letch. I'd like to think she is.

Last night, a lot of RIFT (I think its growing on me again), and I wound the day down by watching "Our Mrs. Reynolds" (Firefly) and "Not Fade Away" (Angel), as Netflix is late with the new episodes of Californication (wait, just arrived!). But now, work! Get a wiggle on, platypus!

A Tenth Free of Secrets,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
Over the many years that this LiveJournal has existed (since 2004), I have said repeatedly that I do not allow contentious comments. Comments, yes. You may even feel free to disagree, briefly, so long as it is evident (to me) you're not, clearly, aiming to start an argument. In short, we do not debate. Ever.

This blog is NOT a public forum, regardless of my inviting comments. Think of it like visiting a friend. This LJ is my house. And I expect people to behave in a civil fashion while in my house. This is, I know, asking a lot, as we do not live in a civil age, but I'm asking it, anyway.

If I find a comment argumentative or offensive, as has always been the case, I will delete it. I don't often delete anything. And I almost never ban anyone (maybe five, ever).

Furthermore, if it is obvious that I feel especially strongly on a subject, take that as a cue not to poke me with a pointy stick. It's common sense, guys. So, when I make angry, damning comments about ebooks, for example, that's my opinion. Disagree? You have the whole internet, except this blog, in which to express your dissatisfaction with my comments. That seems fair

As of tomorrow, the LJ will no longer be mirrored at FaceBook, as Facebook no longer allows users to turn off comments.

Not Open To Debate,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
So...the heat finally abates. Which is the one good thing to be said for this shitty day.

The car is back in the shop. Third time. No idea what's up now. But it's pretty much been in the garage since July 5th. I suppose there are people who can afford to buy new cars.

And Frank the Goat and his mob of Russian hackers crashed LJ for the better part of the day. The next time an editor asks me why I've missed a deadline, I'll just say, "I'm experiencing loading issues."

The results of last night's poll were interesting. As I'd expected, WoW received the most votes of any other game, and, also as expected, a lot of people here don't game, or are still into tabletop/text-based gaming. I do wish I'd disallowed comments on the poll, as a few of the things people felt motivated to say were unnecessarily defensive/combative.

And I was unable to get back to work on the novel today, on Blood Oranges. I'm going to drug myself into a stupor this evening and hope the space rock arrives while I'm semi-conscious.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Oh my fucking dogs. We didn't get to sleep until 4:30 ayem, then woke at 10 ayem. I woke from a hellish dream (thank you, both of you, you who know who you are, you and that fucking day in October 2005) into the mouth of an overheated water buffalo. More on that shortly. The overheated water buffalo, not the hellish dream or heat-induced sleep deprivation. Our heat index is already 97˚F.

Where was I? No, where am I? Oh, here. Great comments yesterday, kittens. Let's keep it up, through another scalding day.

Just sold "The Prayer of Ninety Cats" to Subterranean Press for Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 3. Nope, don't know the book's release date yet, but I'm very happy with the sale.

As for yesterday, well...other than a LOT of email, the less said the better. Work that should have been done was not done. However, I have devised a way to recover. It calls for me finishing Blood Oranges at the end of the third week of August, instead of at the end of July. Fortunately, there was wiggle room. Now, I just gotta get back on that goddamn horse by Monday.

If you're reading this, Merrilee, I've not yet acquired a second coolerator. The one we needed was out of stock. AC units are crazy out of stock up here, which is hardly surprising. Our windows really aren't conducive to window units, so we need another (and smaller than Dr. Muñoz) portable unit. So, no longer broke, but still broiling.

---

One thing that has occurred to me is how little the "triggery" people actually know about human psychology. Sure, if you've been attacked by a dog and maimed, you're going to have issues with dogs. Obviously. Well, no. Many, but not all, people will react that way. Let us avoid oversimplification. Anyway, point is, there are going to be hundreds or thousands of other "triggers," most of them working on a subconscious level, that you'll never be able to guard against. Which leads to all the "unexplained" anxiety and panic attacks experienced by people with PTSD. Which brings us back to the problem of oversimplified pop psych. Mostly, I think the "triggery" folk are desperately trying to control their lives, when all our lives are, genuinely, all but completely beyond our control.

---

Last night, we watched Colin and Greg Strause's Skyline (2010). When I saw the trailer in the theatre, I was impressed and hopeful. But bad and lukewarm reviews kept me away. In truth, it's a perfectly enjoyable big bug sort of sci-fi invasion flick. Sure, it needs a script in the worst sort of way, and the acting's pretty off key. And talk about "unsympathetic characters," what a lot of sleazeballs. However, this is irrelevant, as the real stars are the SFX, which is how it works with the Bros. Strause. And the SFX and creature design, that part's exquisite. It's just a shame no one hired screenwriters who could, you know...write. Or directors that could direct people, and not just CGI programmes. But, like I said, it was fun to watch – quite a bit more than Battle Los Angeles. And unlike Battle Los Angeles, it had a pleasantly and more realistically bleak ending.

After the movie, we watched the first three episodes of Steven Speilberg's Falling Skies. Well, the two-part pilot and the first regular episode. Not bad, in that TV non-space opera sf sort of way. Watchable. Some good moments here and there. But it does feel like television. Which is to say that it feels constrained, and I don't believe for a minute all those people would be so clean six months after becoming nomadic refugees from an extraterrestrial invasion. Creature design is so-so. I find this sudden bloom of alien menace films interesting. True, it's a nice break from zombies. But I wonder at the cause. Probably just the usual Hollywood clusterfuck, especially given that both Skyline and Battle Los Angeles flopped at the box office. The only truly good film to emerge from this, of course, is Abrams' superb Super 8 (a joy, all round).

---

Two films I'm very excited about just now – excited about their potential – are Andrew Stanton's John Carter (US release date 9 March 2012) and Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing (US release date 14 October 2011). I do worry the latter could go horribly awry, but the trailer looks very promising. As for the former, I think I have faith in Stanton to do it right, and I love the trailer. I was a huge fan of Burroughs, and especially the Mars books, when I was a kid. Anyway, here are both trailers:

John Carter:



The Thing:



---

I'm living in an age
That calls darkness light.
Though my language is dead,
Still the shapes fill my head.
-- Arcade Fire

I have no tribe.

Okay...gotta try to be productive.

Hotter Than Hot,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (alabaster2)
The storms have passed, and it looks like we made the right call, not attempting the drive to Boston yesterday. The video I've seen of a sizable tornado dragging itself along the Connecticut River in Massachusetts yesterday, slinging it's debris field round and round, is beautiful and terrifying and filled me with awe. But, having watched tornadoes in the wild (let's say), face-to-face with those beasts (in Alabama), I'm glad to have been nowhere nearby. Here in Providence, we got a lot of weird skies, some wind, and about fifteen minutes of heavy rain and pebble-sized hail. That's all.

Yesterday was spent on the final-most editing of The Drowning Girl. I added a little text, and I took nothing away. And going back to the text, I realize now what an enormous emotional drain the writing of it was for me, and I know why I was so wrecked when it was finished. Both Spooky and my psychiatrist were of the opinion that my dark mood in April was caused by the book, and now I believe them. I think I scraped down all the way to the bottom of my being for this one, and never have I loved a character as much as I love Imp. I may never again. Once again, the novel will be released in March 2012, and will include three illustrations by Vince Locke.

Today, I send the manuscript back to my editor, and it'll be out of my hands until the arrival of the CEM (copy-edited manuscript).

It looks like Sirenia Digest #67 will most likely go out on the 5th, as soon as I have Vince's illustration. I think this is going to be a very good issue.

Spooky and I picked that fifteen minutes of rain and hail to leave the house to run errands. I took photos as we crossed the Point Street Bridge and drove up Wickenden Street (behind the cut, below). The hail pounded our umbrellas and bounced all around us.

---

There were a couple of comments to yesterday's entry that I'd like to repost. On the subject of the #FuckPlanB hashtag on Twitter, [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy writes:

I should probably write something about F#$k Plan B – I fear it's at best hyperbole and at worst dangerous. If your plan A is good enough, and broad enough like "be smart, work hard, learn to write" it will give you many options. But one need only look as far as 35 year old former pro-football players to see where a dogged grappling of a narrow plan A can leave you. I should add that I fear many people being encouraged to "F#@k plan B" don't have what's necessary to succeed at plan A. I admit as Exhibit A all the self-published 99-cent ebooks littering Amazon.

To which I wish to add, a lot of people truly do not want to believe in the necessity of talent required for many Plan As. You cannot learn talent. All the workshops and best efforts and schooling in the world cannot bestow talent. Too many learn that much too late.

- and [livejournal.com profile] opalblack wrote something which evoked such wonderful imagery, I just wanted to make sure everyone sees it:

I went to Venice during Carnival this year. It was like someone had taken a slice of my brain and turned it into a city that was having a party in drag. We went to Isola di San Michele, the cemetery island. We picked up little pieces of broken glass and pottery. Space on the island is at such a premium that the graves are regularly turned and re-let to new occupants. As we strolled through one such recently turned area, I spotted bones. Tiny human bones, a finger here, a fragment of skull there. I picked them up, as is my wont when I find bones – which like yourself is often. We returned to our room, drank absinthe, and smoked. Eventually we went back to Belfast, swearing to return to Venice soon and often. I carried our treasures in my cleavage.

---

Utterly fucking splendid rp last night in Rift – Selwyn, Enth'lye, and Ghaun – and my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus and Tracy T. for that. It buoys my spirit, good rp. And we have a grand story beginning to unfold, working within the framework of Rift's lore. Join us!

And now, off to work.

Shiny,
Aunt Beast

Rainy Day )
greygirlbeast: (dax1)
Some stuff I forgot to say this morning, and some more Dax. Because, like bow ties, she's still cool.

My two favorite photos of Danielle Dax, behind the cut:

Blast the Human Flower and Onwards (With Screenplay Excerpt!) )


Meanwhile...

I meant to say there was very good rp with [livejournal.com profile] omika_pearl last night. And, Riftwise, Spooky and I did the Iron Tomb with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus and friends. Later, while I was rping, he and she continued to quest together, and rob cairns, and dance with squirrels.

And thanks for all the comments, guys. It truly has been helping. Sometimes, it's good to know the last Martian has all this human company.

* Can't seem to make the superfluous go away.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Hubero was entirely unimpressed, just now, when I told him I was away to a hard day at the Office, and to have an extra-dry martini waiting for me when I got home.

Great comments yesterday. Thank you. If you want to keep it up, I won't mind.

Grey and drizzly out there, and, in here, yeah, I'm still exhausted. But I may have turned a corner. I no longer feel quite so much as though something is riding about on my shoulders. I think, last night, it crawled off me and slithered down a drain. We'll be symbiotes again at some later time. For now, I'm not so heavy.

It helps that today is the last day I'm allowing myself to edit the manuscript for Two Worlds and In Between, that tonight it ALL goes away to Bill at subpress. And since Bill has previewed the cover, here's two versions of the entire wondrous cover (behind the cut). We're still a ways from actual layout, of course. But, gods do I love this painting. Thank you, Lee! Oh, I almost forgot. Lee and I will be selling very limited-edition, signed prints of the cover; more on this later:

Changesonekiernan )


All day yesterday was spent editing the collection, right up to the time that Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) arrived. It was good to have company again, so soon after Sonya. There must be more people in my life. How's that for a fucking heresy? We got Lebanese takeout and sat up much too late, talking about magick, books, writers, movies, childhood, drugs, tattoos, gaming, and...tons of other stuff. We watched Antti-Jussi Annila's brilliant Sauna (2008) again, because Spooky had not yet sent it back to Netflix, and I knew how much Geoffrey would love it. I caught so much on the second viewing I missed the first time. It's a film that would hold up under many viewings.

Geoffrey is one of the few people on earth who already has a complete copy of The Drowning Girl, but he hasn't yet had time to read it. Only thirteen people have copies, at this point.

Meanwhile...

There are only THREE days remaining in "Tale of the Ravens" Kickstarter project. One of the last two $500 spots was claimed this morning, and we're still hoping the last one will be, too. The greater the margin by which we exceed our goal, the firmer footing Goat Girl Press will set out upon. Spooky and I are already thinking about projects we'll do after "Tale of the Ravens." And look at all the cool stuff that comes with the $500 donation. So, yes. Donate!

And now, kittens, I go down to slay this rough, unruly Other Beast, who is also me. Or, perhaps, merely to fuck it into submission.

A Skosh Less Weighted,
Aunt Beast

P.S. – STILL NOT A HORROR WRITER.
greygirlbeast: (white)
The snow is going to be with us a while, slowly morphing into a glassy rind of ice. Today has already seen its high of 30˚F and has begun sinking into the twenties, and the high tomorrow is forecast at a mere 26˚F. So, yeah. White out there for a while yet.

I'd planned to take the day off and leave the house for an expedition to photograph cemeteries in the snow. But, FedEx is supposed to deliver the new iPod today, even with our street looking more like the Beardmore Glacier, so here I stay. Maybe we'll take cemetery photos tomorrow.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,129 words on Chapter 4 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, which got me to manuscript page 174. I'd have written more, but I reached a point where Imp is typing a list of bad dreams she had between July 10th and July 17th (2010), and after describing the first two, I was afraid they were beginning to sound like me on autopilot. So, I stopped, to let it all percolate. Also, I'd already planned to divide the book into two halves— "The Drowning Girl" and "The Wolf Who Cried Girl" —but now I think I see that each section has to be six chapters long. Which means that when I finish 4, I'll be a third of the way to THE END.

If you haven't yet ordered a copy of Two Worlds and In Between, the platypus says this is a good day to do just that.

Thanks for all the comments the last two days. Keep them coming, if you can. They are mossy stones that help me cross the stream of days. There is something seriously wrong with that metaphor, but I don't have time right now to puzzle out what it might be.

When I was done writing yesterday, we bundled up and went out into the white world. The streetlights were coming on, the oyster day going to a slate twilight. We crossed the great stillness of Dexter Training Grounds. The wind whipped up clouds of snow from the ground, and a little fresh snow was still falling from the sky. At the southern end of the park, a small crowd was busy building persons of snow. In the shadow of the statue of Ebenezer Knight Dexter, a couple had constructed a modest sort of igloo-like shelter, and the ground outside was littered with goggles, a snowboard, hats, etc. We watched a very happy white dog running to and fro. The clouds had thinned, and overhead we could just make out the waxing quarter moon. There were lampposts straight out of Narnia. The air temp was in the low twenties, with the windchill at about 15˚F. I lay on my back in the snow, gazing up at the moon through the icy boughs of a fir tree. The cold hardly bothered me at all. It was dark by the time we headed back home.

In response to the thoughts I posted two days ago, regarding my constant struggle not to second guess my readers, a number of you have said you read my books precisely because I don't pander, and that helped, hearing that. Last night, this thought came to me and I wrote it down: Whores pander. Whores are paid to give you what you want. If I want someone to pander to me, I'll go to a whore, not an artist. Of course, obviously, not pandering limits my audience (though pandering absolutely doesn't guarantee more readers). It's not that I'm trying to make things hard on readers. It's not like I'm trying to do the opposite of whatever they might want (though, I have met writers with that particularly perverse streak of contrariness), it's just that I am my own ideal audience, and I write my books for me. And if other people like what I write, that's grand and wonderful and I can pay my rent, but I simply can't write for anyone but me. I've tried.

Last night, we watched Joel Schumacher's Falling Down (1993), which I'd not seen since the year it was released. It's aged very well, and is certainly one of Michael Douglas' finest moments. We also (FINALLY!) finished the Vashj'ir region in Cataclysm. No, it didn't really get any better. To make matters worse, it ends with a dungeon that you can't do unless you have five players, which means two players don't actually get to see the end of that part of the story (such as it is). This is an old gripe with WoW, their insistence of forced socialization and refusal to take into account those of us who don't have the opportunity and/or inclination to play in groups. Spooky and I never get to see endgame regions. Regardless, it's over and done with, and now we move on. No more Horde vs. the Sea Monkeys.

There are photos from yesterday evening, behind the cut. Mine are first, then Spooky's. Hers are much better, because the Lamictal makes my hands shake too much to take photos in low light without a tripod:

12 January, Part Two )
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Slept halfway decently last night, but, still, I'm not awake this early, early afternoon (it's only just eight past noon for those of us on CaST). And the bitter cold lingers, 30F (feels like 21F), and likely will...maybe until spring, which comes in late June. I'm wearing too many clothes, which is never pleasant.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,875 words on Chapter Three of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. It was all ravens, Scottish witches, and pretend sea monsters. [livejournal.com profile] michael_b_lee commented to yesterday's post, as regards the interauthor, first person as artifact, and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir:

In this particular case, I think trying to explain how the artifact came to the attention of the reader would actually work at cross-purposes to what you're trying to achieve. Nothing should be explicated. The reader should at no times be certain of her footing.

And I agree, which is why, in this instance, the reader won't learn how it's possible they've gained access to the artifact.

Comments have fallen off again. I assume this has more to do with "the holidays" than it does with the ever-dwindling pool of LJ devotées.

But, yes, the cold weather. I mentioned that part already. After the writing, we had the last sad dregs of the "Five Legged Stew," and watched the first episode of Twin Peaks (1990). That is, the first one after the pilot. It is a strange fact that I have somehow never seen the series, but I'm remedying that now. Fish coffee and the log lady. And lots of bad 80s hair. There was WoW. Oddly, Spooky and I have not yet begun leveling our main toons, Shaharrazad and Suraa, to 85. On the one hand, we've been distracted by new races and new lower-level quests and whatnot. On the other, we've both been working towards the title "Seeker," which comes with having completed 3,000 quests. Spooky got it a couple of nights back, and I likely will tonight. There wasn't any IS rp last night, because I just wasn't up to it emotionally. Playing a pregnant fugitive AI in a flesh-and-bone body ain't as easy as it sounds, you know. Especially not when her human girlfriend has just gone back to work for the Benignly Evil Megacorp and the pregnant AI is beginning to suspect she has developed gestational diabetes. So, Twin Peaks, WoW, and then more Angela Carter before bed. Also more Susanna Clarke yesterday, but no China Miéville. Gotta catch up on him today.

It's that time of year when everyone decides I don't actually need to be paid until sometime after the New Year, bills or no bills. Which I suppose is the true meaning of Xmas.

There are contracts (short-story reprints) that I need to get into the mail today.

Just thinking, truly a shame that jealousy, sorrow, regret, and the need for vengeance do not necessarily have expiration dates. But, then again, if they did what would possibly serve as adequate motivation to keep me writing? I blame Elvis Costello for my having said that last part aloud.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
There's cold air on the way, but this early afternoon it's 74F and sunny, and my office window is open.

The comments from yesterday's post were a little overwhelming, and I didn't reply to all the ones I ought to have replied to, I know. The kind words are appreciated, but I was left feeling as though I were fishing for compliments...or something. Which isn't at all what I was doing. Anyway, whatever. Thank you. I think my favorite comment came from [livejournal.com profile] catconley, who asked, "Does the tweeter also think that Stephen Hawking is a computer?" Brava.

Seeing there was no hope of working yesterday, I left the House, and we went to What Cheer (Wayland Square) and the Curious Mermaid (Wickenden Street), looking for the things that will be making up the Dancy box. The things we aren't making. Little religious tchotchkes, a black plastic dog, an old postcard. This started out as just something extra to offer with a lettered copy of Alabaster (letter X). But now it's grown into a piece of art in its own right. Spooky's cousin Ben is sending us the perfect cigar box from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. It was a warm, drizzly day Outside, and I spent most of it sorting through postcards from the forties and fifties and sixties.

Jada sent us voodoo dolls for Halloween.

---

Mixed feelings about last night's episode of Glee. On the one hand, it was neat. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was a huge part of my life long ago. Somewhere there are photos of me as Magenta. Oh, here they are (thank you Spooky):




"The Time Warp"



"Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me"



Anyway, I'm perplexed at the word "transsexual" having been replaced with "sensational." And they somehow managed to do the whole thing without cross-dressing, which is sort of like doing Doctor Zhivago without Russians. Maybe I'm not perplexed. Maybe I'm only disappointed. Oh, and saw the new Caprica, but I did so immediately after getting the news that "SyFy" has canceled the show, and that the final five episodes won't air until early 2011. May I call this SyFyail? The show was too smart, and too off-beat, and the money can be better spent making shitty movies and reality shows, I'm sure. Caprica will go down after only a single season.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

Sometimes, my heart's just not in an entry. Like now.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
I predict a third day of higgledy piggledy.

I have just discovered that I receive messages via LiveJournal. There are, in fact, 64 of them I have never read, because I never knew they existed. I suspect some may go back to 2004, when I made the jump from Blogger to LJ. Why do I need to get messages at LJ (or Facebook, or Twitter)? I have a perfectly good email address? Anyway, if you've written me at LJ and not received a reply, it's because I'm a technological dullard, not because I'm ignoring you.

Yesterday was meant to be a day off. I looked up from finishing my story for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities (still no title), and realized I'd not left the House for nine days. It just happens. So, we were going to the shore. But as soon as we went Outside, it got cloudy and chilly, and we only made it as far as Newbury Comics, where we got the new Grinderman CD and a comic box of the wrong size. The comic box is because I took all my issues of The Dreaming down off the shelf where I keep books I've written and anthologies I've been in, because I'm probably never going to write comics again, and I needed the shelf space. But this comic book box is enormous, so Spooky's going to store patterns in it, and I'll get a small one later.

I spend a lot of energy trying to avoid politics in my LJ. Why? Because I hate the flamewars that inevitably follow. I thought I'd left that shit behind when I finally escaped the wretched clutches of Usenet. But I commented yesterday, on Facebook and on Twitter, about the Pope's asinine remarks comparing Atheism to Nazism, and, before the day was over, I'd been accused of being anti-Semitic (?!?), and intolerant (?!?), and ignorant of history (?!?). I actually had to tell someone on Facebook to shut up. I'm not sure I've ever told anyone on the web to shut up. At least not in so many words. Anyway, he didn't, so I had to ban him, and I hate doing that shit. I may simply avoid Facebook for a time, since it won't allow me to turn off or screen comments.

Just for the record, I'm not being intolerant by getting angry when someone calls me intolerant for complaining about the intolerance of the Roman Catholic Church (which, by the way, condemns who I am on several levels, and can go fuck itself).

Enough of that crap. I get started, and I'll go on and on. About France's racist decision to ban the wearing of burkas, for example. Or the environmental nightmare caused by planned gadget obsolescence. Or how scary the Teabaggers are becoming.

Speaking of which, I think I've begun to suspect that NIN's Year Zero wasn't so much about Bush's America, as it was a display of prescience on Trent Reznor's part, and the album's really about America after a couple of terms under a Teabagger administration.

But...never mind.

Last night, we watched the remake of The Crazies by director Breck Eisner (produced by George Romero), and starring Timothy Oliphant and Radha Mitchell. I loved it. An amazingly tense and atmospheric film. Very gory, but the gore is handled with wonderful finesse and indirection, making it effective, instead of overwhelming or humorous. The cinematography and score both took me by surprise (in a good way). I never much cared for the original, but the remake is one of the scariest films I've seen in a while. And no, it's not a zombie film, just like Twenty Eight Days Later wasn't a zombie film.

Today, I need to read all the way through this new story that does not yet have a name.

Oh, and my thanks to everyone for the wonderful (and not infuriating) comments to this journal over the last couple of days. I ought to repost a few of them, especially on the subject of science fiction.

Ow.

Aug. 8th, 2010 02:09 pm
greygirlbeast: (Default)
One of the side effects of one of my new meds (Prazosin) is that it can cause hypotension. And fainting. I've been feeling the former for weeks. This morning, I felt the latter. Violently. I woke about eight a.m., only four hours after going to bed (and taking my night meds). I lay in bed two or three minutes. I sat up and checked the clock. And then I stood up, rather quickly...which I know not to do. Only I was still probably half asleep. And I went down like a sack of bricks. Boom, straight to the floor. As I fell, my right ankle folded under me, and I landed on it. Hard. The pain instantly brought me back to consciousness. And I was absolutely certain I'd broken my foot. This was the sort of pain that makes you want to puke. The noise had Spooky awake in a flash, awake and panicked. I managed to tell her I'd fallen and thought I'd broken my foot.

She got me to lie down, and she took my sock off. I lay there on the floor like a goddamn fool while she held ice on my ankle. We waited for the swelling and discoloration to begin. I thought mostly about how I couldn't afford a trip to the ER. But my foot didn't swell. It's not broken. Eventually, I got back into bed and even managed to get back to sleep. I awoke feeling like I'd been in a car wreck. I have so many sore places I can't count them, and I'm having to hobble about with my cane, and I feel like an idiot. I swear, I have to put a big-ass sign beside my bed that says GET UP SLOWLY, FOOL.

I've had breakfast and Advil, and hopefully that will help.

---

My thanks to everyone (even those I disagreed with) for the many marvelous comments yesterday. I tried to reply to everyone, though I might have missed a few of the later ones. I wouldn't mind seeing a flood of comments like that every day. Of course, the truth is, I rarely provide something interesting to comment on. The act of writing is not a terribly exciting subject (though its end result is). Here are a few bits from yesterday I especially liked (so back to the matter of first-person narration and the interauthor).

I wrote, A first-person narrative occurs in a minimum of two time frames: the present (when the story is being written down) and the past (when the story occurred). And [livejournal.com profile] corucia replied:

And the interval of time between those two is also vitally important. If the events are being written as journal entries or the like at a very close remove from the primary action, then the interauthor might be unwilling to write down particularly upsetting events (perhaps only using a "something major happened today I don't think I can talk about" marker) but then bits of the event will creep into the narrative in later entries, possibly with a major unveiling and discussion later. On the other hand, if a significant amount of time has passed and the interauthor is writing down everything to make some sort of record, then she's going to be much more likely to do it in a linear fashion.

To which I can only say, yes, exactly. [livejournal.com profile] dragau wrote:

Another question that generally remains unanswered is why the interauthor is such a good writer in the first place.

This is a very, very important point that I've never seen addressed anywhere. In a first-person narration, the interauthor is usually the most important character. Not just a convenient storytelling device, but an actual fictional person. And, as the writer, I have to fully understand who that person is, their fears and desires, their strengths and weaknesses. To assume that all interauthors just happen to be good at expressing themselves in words— because I happen to be, and because I need the interauthor to tell a story —is to fall into a trap that, at least for me, can kill a piece.

Lately, I've been wondering, why are authors afraid to write interauthors who are much less skilled at writing than they themselves are, people who are much less articulate? That is, write a first-person narrative by someone who cannot write. Certainly, it would, in most cases, be far more authentic and realistic. Of course, there's the lazy fallback of having the interauthor be a writer (I might seem guilty of that in The Red Tree, and maybe I was, but it seems to me that Sarah had to be an author for me to tell the story I needed her to tell). But the message here is simple: The interauthor must speak as the interauthor would speak. If she or he is a cop or a stripper or a construction worker, odds are pretty good the narration will not read as if it were written by an author. And the challenge that a good writer must rise to, in these cases, is to write like X, whatever X signifies, instead of writing like a writer. This is lesson I'm still learning myself.

And there was this bit by [livejournal.com profile] bbluemarble that I have to quote, simply because it's succinct and very much needs saying:

After reading this post and the prior comments I've come to the conclusion that there are (in effect) two types of first person narratives: First Person Found Artifact and First Person Really Just a Bastardization of Third Person Limited.

I think this happened because every writing book ever written tells amateur writers that first person is easier to write and it's a shortcut to reader empathy. These are lies. Writing first person as found artifact is really hard to do well.


Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Most young writers make this very mistake. They use first person, think it's easy, or because some idiot writing instructor told them they should, without ever having puzzled through the inherent difficulties of the voice. For what it's worth, I've had such a longstanding suspicion of first person that I pretty much avoided it until 2003, when I wrote "Riding the White Bull" and The Dry Salvages in first person, eleven years after I began writing for publication, and even then I made mistakes. Oh, I almost forgot. In my first novel, The Five of Cups (written in 1992, unpublished until 2003), there are long stretches essentially in first person, and they're rather dreadful. I simply had no idea what I was doing. Fortunately, I realized and switched to third person in all subsequent novels, until The Red Tree, sixteen years later.

I'm going to paste in the rest of [livejournal.com profile] bbluemarble's response, because it's easier than paraphrasing:

Maybe that's why it's [First Person Found Artifact] all but disappeared in favor of first person bastardization of third. I can't say that I remember the first book I read that didn't explain why it was in first person (remember when that used to be a rule? Explain that this narrative is an artifact and what sort of artifact it is or the audience will be unable to suspend disbelief!) but I do vividly remember the most unrealistic pseudo-explanation for the narrative being in first person that I ever read. It was something along the lines of "I'm thinking stuff. Right now. These are my thoughts that I'm sending out to the world in the hopes that someone will hear them and maybe write them down." Adhering to that convention actually pulled me right out of the story with thoughts along the lines of "What?! She's a vampire that's psychic enough to compel some random person to write her dying-moments memoir but she can't psychic her friends to help her escape? What a stupid superpower." In that case, it would have been better for the story to just dispense with the whole first person construct and do it in third person limited (but I get the feeling that editors/publishers/the powers that be to working writers thought the average teen reader may have trouble empathizing with a sometimes psychotic vampire that goes on occasional killing sprees and feels no remorse so...I know, write it in first person! Instant empathy!).

Really want to be a good writer who doesn't rely on crutches? Want to solve the problems posed by a given narrative, instead of rushing to what appears to be a quick fix? Then listen to all this shit. And think about it.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, and also at the very cool new stuff in Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks & Sundries shop at Etsy (now including a hand-painted Ouija board!)

Okay. More than enough for now. I hurt, and I think I'm going to take a hot bath and lie down for a bit.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The weather here in Providence has turned chilly, rainy, grey. The high today is forecast at 61F. June has become March. Well, no. For Rhode Island, June has become early May. I'm still acclimating to this very different climate. A few days ago, it was too hot to be in the house. Now it's sweater weather again.

Yesterday, I did 1,205 words on "The Maltese Unicorn." It moves towards a climax. But there's still no way I'll finish by Friday evening, or even Saturday afternoon. Maybe if I could write 2,000 words a day, a feat of which I am rarely capable. Maybe then.

A new round of eBay auctions began yesterday. Please have a look.

I ought to count yesterday as a very productive day. I pitched three projects, and sold two of them. But I'm in a murky place. I think it's this shitty weather. I want the sun back, please.

Last night, we were both too tired for much of anything, neither of us having slept well the night before. I read a little of Jenny Clack's book on the evolution of early tetrapods. We watched the season finale of Glee, which was very, very good and made up for last week's mess of an episode. Then we watched a couple of episodes from Season Five of Deadliest Catch. Then we tried to play WoW, but were both too tired to do anything but spaz off. So we watched a third episode of Deadliest Catch and went to bed at the amazingly early hour of 1:30 a.m. I slept more than eight hours, and feel much better this morning, despite vivid dreams of whoring and corporate espionage.

Comments are not unwelcomed. The platypus likes comments. The dodo concurs.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Another rough night last night. Is this becoming the insomnia journal? It has been before, so shall it be again. Spooky's calling my doctor in a bit to see if we can double the Prazosin tonight. Tiddley pom. Dreams I won't get into. I lay in bed until sometime after three, then took an Ambien (insuring I'd be a zombie this ayem), got up, and listened to the Audible.com version of Daughter of Hounds until almost four.

Yesterday (which followed a good night's sleep) was unproductive. I have a story due in at the beginning of July that must be both supernatural and noir. Which should be easy as pie for me. I've certainly done it before. But I'm having trouble finding the subject matter of this particular story, trying to avoid lame, done-to-death plots, like hard-boiled, world-weary male detective falls in love with femme fatale who, it turns out, really is a femme fatale (i.e., vampire, siren, succubus, werewolf, etc.). I am looking for the artful solution to this problem, one that won't make me yawn. Because I love the marriage of noir and dark fantasy, when it's done well. Last night, trying to sleep, thinking about potential stories, the title "The Maltese Unicorn" popped into my head. Gagh. No, I will not be writing a story called "The Maltese Unicorn." I wanted to punch myself in the face just for thinking of it.

My thanks to everyone who bid in the lastest round of eBay auctions. Another round will begin soon. Meanwhile, have a look at Spooky's sea-glass jewelery at Dreaming Squid Dollworks.

Last night we watched Olatunde Osunsanmi's The Fourth Kind, a film so stupid that not even Milla Jovovich could redeem it. And that's saying something. I actually enjoyed the most recent Resident Evil film, almost entirely because of the presence of Milla Jovovich. Don't get me wrong, I (obviously) love the "faked documentary" approach, when it's done well. Here, it's not. Never is it even halfway convincing. And don't get me started on the Sumerian ancient astronaut nonsense. Not a good movie, at all.

Anyway, enough for one morning. Comment if you dare. Lately, the number of those who dare has fallen off rather dramatically.
greygirlbeast: (Sweeny1)
Another spring-like morning here in Providence. The office window is open. The sun is bright. I can almost pretend I slept well and that every muscle in my body doesn't ache. I left the office window open until 10:21 p.m. last night.

Yesterday, no writing. And, at this point, nothing substantial has been written since I finished with "Apsinthion" back on February 25th. This has to change very, very soon. It doesn't matter whether or not I'm well. This broken sack of crap and bones can go hang. It also doesn't matter what asinine shit pushes in at the borders of my life. This not-writing absolutely has to stop. For a month, almost, I have been No One, for I am No One, if not a writer, and if I am not writing, I won't call myself a writer.* Then again, the thought of being simply and only No One...okay, let's not go there.

I spent much of yesterday just resting, recuperating (not entirely sure from just what), hydrating, and so forth. Trying to forget that Tuesday ever happened. The sun and the clean air helped. All there was to St. Patrick's Day was me hanging my Irish flag in the window of the front parlour. Maybe next year.

Today, I just want to go to the sea...but I'm going to Boston, instead.

* If anyone dares, today, to tell me this is a fallacious line of reasoning— that it's, for example, like questioning a lesbian's lust for the female form because she's not actually had sex for the last ten years —I will ban her, him, or it from every posting a comment here again. Yes, I love you, too.
greygirlbeast: (Vulcans)
I didn't think so, but it never hurts to ask. Wait, yes it does. It often hurts to ask.

Um...

So, we're still at Code Yellow. Yesterday, I wrote a rather surprising 1,357 words on "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars," and there was some brief debate about standing down to Code Green. But I have no idea if what I wrote yesterday will lead to another thousand or so words today, or if it was any good, or whatever...so we're holding at Yellow.

More good comments yesterday. I thought this one from [livejournal.com profile] sovay hit the proverbial nail on its proverbial head:

For me, it all keeps coming down to entitlement—to be allowed glimpses of someone's life is to be invited to participate in it is to be authorized to change it, and heaven forfend if you do not wish your life to be changed. You asked me in, didn't you? We're all the same sort of people.

I don't think it's anything new; expectations of privacy have been eroding for years. But the internet promotes the illusion of intimacy where nothing more than the exchange of pixels exists, and it seems to be felt by many of its—practitioners?—as a compulsion rather than a choice. I mean, we are not all the same sort of people, but we're all supposed to be...


Yes. Nail. Head of Nail. All of that. But something else. The arrogance required of someone to believe that hesheit has the ability to change my life, or even my mood, via the goddamn internet. Oh, it could happen. An email from my agent informing me that The Red Tree was just optioned for a fat six figures by [insert dream director here], and I can stop writing and spend the next ten years on the next novel...that would definitely change my mood. But when I post " I would love to write a story or novel and not think, every single day I work on it, 'If I kill myself, I won't have to finish this.' Just once..." to Facebook, and twenty people reply with assorted "Oh, buck up, little buckaroo" nonsense...no. That only makes it worse. Though, I suppose, by making it worse, those people have changed my life.

That's fucking brilliant!

---

Last night, we watched Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009). And at least it was better than the second Underworld film. I mean, I didn't nod off, as I did during Underworld: Evolution (2006). It didn't put me to sleep. That's a compliment, right? Also, I watched it in the comfort of my own home, and didn't have to pay to see it, and those things probably also prejudiced me in its favor.

By the way, if you're interested in Spooky's Halloween figurines, be warned that they are only available through Halloween. Come November 1st, everything Halloween will be removed from her Etsy shop until next October. So, consider yourselves notified.
greygirlbeast: (Mars from Earth)
The sun's come back to Providence today, and I, for one, am pleased with that. Hopefully, it'll pull up a chair and stay a while.

We're not yet going to Code Orange, which is not to say that I wrote yesterday, because I didn't. But I did talk to the editor of the book for which the Mars YA story is being written. One of the (numerous) things that's been hanging me up is a fear that my subject matter might be too "mature" for the intended audience. So, I laid it all out for my editor: my Mars, bereft of men a century after a biowar that destroyed the male population and left the planet quarantined. The female colonists have adapted. We have a society where lesbianism is the normative state, and where heterosexuality dooms one to a life of loneliness and stigma. Women breed via frozen-sperm deliveries from Earth, and also by a complicated parthenogenic process. And this story is about a young girl who is heterosexual. It's just the way she is, despite all the careful social conditioning to insure there will be no straight women, despite genetic engineering, whatever. She's into men, even though she's only ever seen photos and read of them. And, so, what's it like for her? Much to my relief, my editor approved the story concept, so long as I steer clear of any explicit sexual content (which I'd assured him I would).

So...yesterday, I began tearing "XX" apart and rebuilding it another way. It won't be precisely the story I set out to write, because I discovered the narrative structure simply wasn't working. And I've retitled the new incarnation "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars." Today, I have to make Substantial Progress towards THE END. If I can do that today and for a week thereafter, we can probably avert a Code Orange.

---

My thanks to everyone who commented yesterday. They were good comments. And I spent much of yesterday mulling over my decision to withdraw from Facebook and Twitter, and I know it was the right decision for me. And very late last night, I was able to put my finger on exactly why neither was working for me (this most applies to Facebook). Thanks to technology that didn't exist only a decade or so ago, you get to watch how it is that I do this thing that I do. You get to watch, and discover what it is like for me. Day after day. You even get to watch for free. And questions are nice, and comments are okay. But I am not blogging to trigger some "meaningful dialogue" with my readers, and I sure as hell don't want (or have time for) arguments. I've been blogging since November 2001, and it's never been about that. And you don't get to try and cheer me up when I'm down, and you don't get to wax ironic or glib if I come across like a mopey old sock. You do not get to try and change the thing you've been allowed to watch. I am glad to have you here, but you're not a part of the process. Those who read this blog are readers, or, if you prefer, observers. And the best observers do not interfere. Think of it as a Prime Directive. This seemed especially difficult for people at Facebook, where I was barraged with constant attempts to "make me feel better," or, worse, people criticizing me for feeling down, for having a hard time with the words, for the fact that I'm not the sort of writer who loves to write, and so forth. Most of those comments were deleted.

I'd post, "No words today. No words at all." And someone would shoot back, "IDK I count seven LOL." Or something even less helpful (though more articulate), like "...if writing's such a painful burden, walk away and find something else to do." Um, yeah. Anyway, this is the sort of shit makes me want to torture soccer moms and cheerleaders with rusty 19th-Century surgical instruments (oh, okay; I always want to do that, regardless). So, yeah...watch, but don't try to redirect the flow to match the way you think things ought to be going, and don't try to make a happy camper of me. I have invited you here to watch, not to change me. Very, very simple equation.

---

Last night, we watched Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet (1996), and I discovered it's a much, much better film than I gave it credit for being when I saw it in the theater. I think, the first time I saw it, I simply didn't know how to watch it. Falling in love with Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! seems to have changed that. Anyway, it was sort of research for my Mars story. I may also mark yesterday as the day that I started smoking again. This happens every now and then, and it rarely lasts for very long. I have the apparently freakish ability to quit with no difficulty whatsoever. But the stress of the last few months made it pretty inevitable. Very late, we watched an episode of No Reservations, in which Anthony Bourdain made me want to eat all of New York City.

And here's something I thought I'd try. Deskscapes. Photos I took this morning of my workspace. This is pretty much what it looks like at the beginning of every day (a little dustier than usual):

11 October 2009 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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