greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
The first day of my vakashun, is cold and cloudy...which figures. But good things are in store, so I am told. And rest. And travel Outside. And, most importantly, NOT WRITING.

A peculiar thing last night. Not coincidence. Or maybe not so much coincidence. But something. I haven't watched Farscape, to speak of, in years, and last night Spooky and I sort of decided to start at the beginning and work our way through all four seasons. Anyway, we'd just finished "Exodus from Genesis" (1:3), when I saw [livejournal.com profile] matociquala's entry about the death of T.J. Bass, author of the sf novel The Godwhale (1974), at the age of 79. It may be that not many of you've read The Godwhale...or even seen Farcscape. But the former concerns, among many other things, the creature of the title, the Rorqual Maru: (French, from Norwegian rørhval, from Old Norse reydharhvalr: reydhr, rorqual (from raudhr, red; see reudh- in Indo-European roots) + hvalr, whale), plus you will recall that it is Hakudo Maru, the Japanese Celestial God of War, who taught men to build ships. The Rorqual Maru is a bioengineered Blue Whale, and...well, in Farscape you have the biomechanoid ship Moya (also, in Japanese architecture, the word for the core of a building). I'm mucking this up, aren't I?

Point is, having just started watching Farcsape again, then reading of Bass' death, something clicked. I read Godwhale in high school, maybe three years after it was released (it's out of print), and doubt I've consciously thought about the book in a quarter of a century or more. But I had to pause and wonder how much Godwhale might have influenced the creators of Farscape (Jim Henson Productions/Hallmark Entertainment) when they conceived of the sentient ship Moya, who is, after all, a member of a species known as leviathans, from leviathan (late 14c., from L.L. leviathan, from Hebrew livyathan [לִוְיָתָ] "dragon, serpent, huge sea animal," of unknown origin, perhaps related to Tiberian liwyah "wreath," from base l-w-h- "to wind, turn, twist"), a word which in Modern Hebrew, and in general, has come to mean, simply, whale. Bomechanoid whales of the sea and of outer space. And it just seemed...curious, our going back to the series the day after Bass' death, which Elizabeth Bear didn't blog about until yesterday, a blog entry we didn't read until after watching Farscape. But my mind does that, same as it plays word games. It plays games – not with cause and effect (though it does that, too) – but with the frivolity of happenstance.

Oh, and Soulcrusher, he crushed the soul of Spooky's computer. Sort of. Turns out, the "People of WalMart" website is infected with a piece of especially pernicious computer malware, "Vista Home Security 2012." Which we spent much of yesterday trying to expunge from her machine. This morning, it seems we were, unexpectedly, successful. So, we don't have to give the guys at the Geek Squad $200. But – DO NOT GO TO THAT WEBSITE. The Soulcrusher will reach out and crush the soul of your computer. Yesterday's entry has been locked (my eyes only; I can never delete an entry – never have, never will).

Work-wise yesterday was sort of choatic, what with the spawn of Soulcrusher and all. We made it through the first 146 manuscript pages of corrections on Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (by the way, some work has to be done while I'm on vakashun....like this. So, please pre-order a copy, to make it worth my while, the sacrifice of those precious hours of leisure). Also, I spoke with my editor at Dark Horse. Alabaster steams headlong towards an amazing launch.

And Spooky says I have to go now, and pretend I'm not working...
greygirlbeast: (mandarin)
Okay, well. So far this morning, I've had my iMac pull some crazy-ass "Colonel Panic" crash on me, while half the goddamn internet was telling me that I needed to call Harlan. "Calm" has not, thus far, been le mot du jour. But I foresee smoother sailing ahead. And, by the way, I have discovered that during computer crises I have learned to channel Hoban Washburne. Just stay in my seat, flip switches, and tell Spooky, my voice treading that fine line between amused, terrified, and extraordinarily polite, that if we don't get some extra flow from the engine room to offset the burn-through this landing is gonna get pretty interesting. Though, I've learned it's best off not to define "interesting."

I am a leaf on the motherfucking wind. The wind just happens to be a hurricane.

Yesterday I wrote a fairly impressive 2,104 words on "Ex Libris." The story's word count presently stands at 9,118 (~10k words were requested), so I'll finish today. One way or the other, with or without that primary buffer panel, and those entry couplings that should have been replaced six months ago be damned. All is bright and shiny. Anyway, yes, I wrote, and Spooky continued the mind-numbing task of rereading The Drowning Girl. Well, mind-numbing is my adjective. She says that she's seen things about the book she never saw before – good things, mind you, mostly structural aspects, that apparent chaos is only apparent, and so forth – because she's having to read the ms. in this tedious fashion. Which is cool. But I couldn't have done it. My solution involved taking a train to Manhattan and...never mind. Anyway, Spooky is finishing that up even as I write, and will likely be finished by the time I complete this entry. 'Cause she rocks.

I have in mind to post a list of all the things I want to do before I die, even though I expect I won't be able to do one third of them (money and time are the most common obstacles). Problem is, I have to write out the list, then whittle it down to, say, ten.

I sincerely hope no one was offended at what I wrote yesterday regarding why the "Tale of the Ravens" project is coming along so slowly, that it's because Kathryn's been having to do so much work for me. In truth, only a single person (out of our seventy-two Kickstarter backers) has said peep. It's just that we're both very frustrated about the project. And...

WHOA

...Spooky just finished the horrid proofreading. Well, her part. I still have to go over it the way one usually goes over galley pages. But, most of the work is done, and she is free to return to the ravens. Tiddley fucking pom.

I should begin wrapping this up.

After all the writing, there was more leftover chili (living large at La casa de Kiernan), and I dozed, and watched an episode of Nova on Kīlauea, and we played a LOT of Rift (the guild is moving back towards RP mode, by the way, so, if you're interested...), then watched the premiere of Season Seven of Deadliest Catch, then played a little more Rift, and I fell asleep watching James Stewart in Billy Wilder's The Spirit of St. Louis (1957), a comfort film. And that was yesterday.

Oh, except, I also I had a look at Star Wars: The Old Republic, at game-play video and cut scenes and whatnot. I even signed up for the Beta, because it does sound interesting, that universe set three thousand years before the "first" gawdsawful movie. BUT! Jesus, the graphics are awful. I mean, Bioware seems to be trying to make the crappy graphics in Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim look good. This valley ain't just uncanny; it's downright butt ugly. Now, if we are to believe that $135 million was spent making this game, more than has ever been spent creating any video game, I'm left asking, "Where the hell did all that money go?" Was it spent on cheese doodles and Mountain Dew? Maybe it went up someone's nose, because it sure didn't go into the game's graphic design. I expect I'll play a bit, regardless. because, like I said, I love the idea.

The platypus says visiting hours are up, and we do not argue with the monotremes.

Shiny. Let's be badguys,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
And today is 10/10/10. Read into or out of that what you will. Having little, if any, use for numerology, I make nothing whatsoever of it, except that it is a calendric curiosity and inevitability. Like 9/9/09, or 8/8/08, and so forth. I wonder who thinks the sky is falling today?

---

Yesterday I finished the introduction for Two Worlds and In Between. Well, at least I hope that I finished it. I don't like writing these sorts of things. Anyway, it comes in at 1,541 words. I take George Orwell to task over that silly and too often parroted comment, "Good prose is like a windowpane.” But, also, I think writing instructors often fail to present the quotation in the context of the essay it has been taken from ("Why I Write," June 1946, originally published in the final issue of Gangrel, Summer 1946). Above all else, Orwell was a propagandist, which is not a bad thing. He had messages that needed speaking. And he needed them spoken very clearly (though, he was still awfully fond of metaphor, hence Animal Farm). But to think this applies to all prose, it was arrogant and short sighted of Orwell to think this, and idiotic for writers today to follow this edict.

I also cleaned up the keynote speech I gave at the HPLFF, because S.T. Joshi has asked to publish it (I can't remember where).

And that was work yesterday. I sat here and wrote and edited while Spooky went to South County to see her parents and her brother.

Oh, and thanks to Cat Conley ([livejournal.com profile] catconley, "The Awkward Marmoset") for sending me a copy of Greer's Moonwise. It was a pleasant surprise.

Last night there was far too much CoX. [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus showed up, and may even have joined out weird little group of vampires and supernatural ne'erdowells.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, which include the "napovel," written in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport during our captivity there. All bids are much appreciated. We not only have to pay the taxes this month, we also have to consider the fact that both my iPod and cellphone were fried during the trip to Portland.

It's something of a mystery, and I know fuck-all about electronics. Neither will hold a charge now, and the iPod actually appears to have been wiped clean. I suspect my shoulder bag, at some point, came into contact with a strong magnetic field. I just don't know when it might have happened, or where. But as I rely heavily on both for writing, they will have to be replaced or repaired very soon. It may be the lithium-ion batteries only need to be replaced. I just don't know (and if you know anything about these sorts of conundrums, please say so).

---

I've been getting some good feedback on "John Four," which felt like a sort of story I haven't written before. So I was very nervous about it.

---

Somehow I forgot Sonya's ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) birthday. So, happy belated birthday, Sonya.

And now, more photos from Portland. I was amazed at the lushness of the neighborhood where we were lodging. Everything was green. I think of Rhode Island as being lush, but it can't compare to what I saw of Portland. So, here are some glimpses of the lushness and greenery:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 4 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday was a day off, as predicted. It was not the best sort of day off. I was too tired to leave the House. I helped Spooky clean the place a little. I started a painting I've been meaning to start since May. I read a little. There was a nap before dinner. After dinner, I went back to WoW and played my night-elf warrior, Mithwen, who has sat neglected since November 2008, when I abandoned her for my blood-elf warlock, Shaharrazad. Anyway...it was a day.

It would only have been a day, had Spooky's laptop not decided to go belly up. Again. Once again, it's probably the motherboard. She's taking it in for repairs today. Fortunately, it's still under warranty. But she'll be without it for a couple of weeks, which is going to make it harder to deal with eBay and various other necessary things. So it goes. She's stuck on my ancient, but dependable, iBook until her laptop comes back.

---

I wanted to put down some notes addressing John Glover's concerns, posted yesterday, that the "Best of CRK" volume would neglect older tales in favor of new ones. It is a concern that gets to the heart of why putting together the table of contents is proving so difficult for me (though there are other factors, as you'll soon see, that also make it very hard).

Yes, it's true. It's very hard for me to read the older stories (certainly those pre-2000). This is normal. Authors grow. Change. Our voices change, as do our likes and dislikes, etc. But, so far, a good portion of the ToC is comprised of stories written between 1995 and 1999, stories from Tales of Pain and Wonder, From Weird and Distant Shores, and Wrong Things. So, they certainly won't be left out. It helps, too, that very few stories written after 2005 will be included, as those are being reserved for future collections. So, this is mostly Tales of Pain and Wonder through To Charles Fort, With Love and Alabaster. Mostly. There will be very little material from Sirenia Digest, for example. Which helps me to avoid giving the older stories the cold shoulder.

Of course, nothing from the novels written during that time will be included. And none of my comics work (the latter for legal reasons, as all my work for DC/Vertigo was "work for hire," and I don't own it, so have no reprint rights. And getting those rights would be prohibitively expensive and time consuming.). This is a "best of short fiction" volume.

But the question of what goes in and what doesn't is more complex than making sure the book represents the full range of my work during this initial eleven-year chunk of my career ('94-'05). The biggest problem I have is in defining the term best. Are we talking about my personal favorites? Reader favorites? Those stories that have been chosen by editors for annual "best of" anthologies? The stories that have won awards? The stories that were only nominated for awards? The stories that have been singled out by reviewers and received the most praise? Stories that mark a sudden stylistic or thematic shift? The stories that have most often been reprinted?

What does best mean in this context? Truthfully, there's no correct answer to that question. All answers must be subjective, relative to one perspective or another. I'm weighing all of these factors (and probably a few more) in choosing the stories.

So, that should offer some insight into how I'm going about this process. When I was offered the chance to do the book, I think my reaction was, "Wow. This will be so easy!" But it's not even remotely simple.

---

It's 12:49 p.m., and I'm still not awake. Mothmen, get the oxygen tank!

Postscript: I just heard from Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press that The Ammonite Violin & Others is down to the last 82 copies. That's only 82 remaining out of 1,800 copies. So, if you want to snag one, you'd better do it very soon.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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