greygirlbeast: (Chi and Aeryn)


My black out begins now. Props to Wikipedia et al. Glad tomorrow is a school day; help drive the message home. Unless Wikipedia is blocked...for boobs and sex and stuff.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
greygirlbeast: (Default)
One of my favorite songs, ever...ever...

If I had to say "This song, it's my life in Birmingham, Alabama from 1991-1993," it would be "Joey."


greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Here we go with the higgledy-piggledy again. It's a coolish day here in Providence, but sunny. After the anticlimax of Hurricane Earl, summer collapsed like a leaky balloon. Now it's sweater weather again.

I love that William Gibson tweeted "Johnette Napolitano is my Anne Rice. Seriously. Wonderful writer."

Yesterday, I finished writing my story for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, though it still doesn't have a title. Which, I suppose, means that, technically, it's still not finished. I wrote 1,171 words yesterday. This story has been tedious to write, but I like the end result. It has required the constant consulting of texts, on subjects as diverse as pop culture, bog mummies, Arabian mythology, Irish and French geography, owls, early 20th-Century occultism, X-ray microtomography, the chemical composition of claw sheaths, weird fiction in the 1980s, rogue taxidermy, social constructionism, and Parisian ossuaries.

My new passport came yesterday, so no more worries about photo ID. This new passport is oddly high tech. I know it's being used to track me by satellite. It won't have to be renewed again until I'm fifty-six, and I imagine by then the world will hardly be recognizable.

---

Still reading Kristin Hersh's memoir, Rat Girl. There's a bit I want to quote. She's writing about writing music, but it applies (for me) equally to writing prose:

Music's making me do things, live stories so I can write them into songs. It pushes my brain and my days around. A parasite that kills its host, it doesn't give a shit about what happens to a little rat girl as long as it gets some song bodies out of it. It's a hungry ghost, desperate for physicality.

I'm not writing songs anymore; they're writing
me.

♋ close your eyes

i'm sliding really fast
my hands are full of snow

i don't understand
i don't understand puzzles

And every time a song is done, you can go now...you aren't needed anymore.
-- Kristin Hersh

I like to lie about writing being like this for me. I've often declared that writing fiction is, for me, nothing like this.

---

Still reading Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age. And I'm also still thinking about the problem posed by A is for Alien, how it didn't do as well as all my other subpress books (i.e., it hasn't sold out). And between the reading and the pondering, something has occurred to me, and maybe it should have occurred to me before. Stephenson's book is, undoubtedly, marvelous. The worldbuilding is first rate, from the tech to the sociology (even though I think he's slightly too optimistic). And he truly has written a post-cyberpunk pastiche of a Charles Dickens novel. But, I find the book oddly lacking in emotional content and depth. The characters aren't precisely flat. But there's very little insight into how they feel about the world about them or about each other or about themselves. At times, they seem to exist in order to show us the book's technology and history and so forth. They're almost no more than plot and setting delivery devices. I feel like they're all living out a tragedy they're never allowed to recognize as such.

I have often heard it said that science fiction is the literature of ideas. Fair enough. But I don't think it ought to be the literature of ideas to the exclusion of exploring pathos, delight, fear, and so forth. And it certainly didn't used to be. But I haven't read much sf after the cyberpunks of the '80s. So maybe things have changed. Or maybe I'm placing too much weight on a single data point (though that matter of "mundane sf" rears its head). Anyway, my sf is primarily concerned with human emotion, with the characters, and only secondarily concerned with science and technology. Often, the science it is most concerned with is psychology, and I'm just wondering if that's part of what I'm trying to make sense of here. I recognize I may be barking up the wrong tree; but I need to check all of them, all these trees.

---

Good rp in Insilico last night. And an interesting ooc conversation right before I logged of SL, a conversation with Blair (the person I'm mostly rping with these days) about living vicariously through our roleplay characters. We both acknowledge that's what we're doing. Me, I'm exploring various issues of identity by having an android pass through various incarnations, becoming progressively human. Anyway, it's mostly interesting because I've known a lot of people who are very resistant to the idea that rp involves this sort of therapeutic vicariousness. But I think it's where the true value of rp lies, in allowing us to explore secret parts of ourselves. Now, admittedly, it can also allow us to view the world through alien eyes, through minds not our own, and try to become people we aren't. But the best we can ever manage in those situations it to try, because all our characters will always only be splinters of us.

Heal It Up

Jun. 29th, 2009 06:13 pm
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
I forgot to post a Concrete Blonde video this morning. So...

greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Truly nothing much to yesterday. No writing, though at least the weather was nice. It was almost summer.

My hair is black again for the first time since the summer of 2006. Thus continues the ongoing cycle of black, stripped blonde/sunburst, various reds, neglectful grey, and back to black. It's a cycle my hair's been in since sometime in the 90s. I went to a new stylist (new for me) at Hairspray over on Wickenden Street, and I'm very pleased with the results. This is me trying to make myself presentable for ReaderCon 20, which is almost upon me. And someone has already asked for hair photos, which I might get around to in the next day or two. But, really, it's just black hair (with a faint hint of blue in direct sunlight).

Very little else to yesterday.

Only 37 days remaining until the release of The Red Tree, and there's so much to be done between now and then. We're behind on our shooting/editing schedule for the book trailer, thanks to lousy weather and my very heavy writing load. I still hope to have a rough cut of "The Basement" (trailer one) before the con, and to have "Constance" (trailer two) finished before the official release date.

Today, the sun has gone, and it's chilly (high of 69F), and my mood is down again. I'm some sort of emotional barometer.

I did read yesterday, binging on the latest issue of JVP, all papers on fossil crocodylomorphs: "Reconstruction of the Bracing System of the Trunk and Tail in Hyposaurine Dyrosaurids (Crocodylomorpha; Mesoeucrocodylia)," Kambara taraina sp. nov. (Crocodylia, Crocodyloidea), a New Eocene Mekosuchine from Queensland, Australia, and a Revision of the Genus," and "New Material of "Trematochampsa” oblita" (Crocodyliformes,Trematochampsidae) from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar."

Today, it's back to work on "The Sea Troll's Daughter," which is presently 4,850 words long. It has to be finished by July 5th. That's only eight days, and I know one will be given over to getting Sirenia Digest #43 out, and I'll be losing another, so, truthfully, best-case scenario, I have only six days to completely finish the story.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. All proceeds go to offset the expense of attending ReaderCon. Thanks. Also, a reminder that I'm doing the micro-excerpt thing for The Red Tree at greygirlbeast, and you can now pre-order the book.

And here's today's Concrete Blonde video:

greygirlbeast: (Kraken)
Gods, I did not sleep enough, and I don't even know why. I could have slept late. Latish, at least. No writing today, because there's an appointment to have my hair colored smack in the middle of the afternoon, but I got up anyway. As Spooky would say (no, really; I have heard her say this), "The bags under my eyes have carry-on luggage."

And speaking of eyes, last night I rubbed Tobasco sauce in my left (blind) eye. That was some fun. Boy, howdy.

Ever wondered what it would be like to see a Jack Chick pamphlet written by Lovecraft? Okay, truth be told, atheist or not, HPL never would have done this. He was far too couth. But it's still so true, and funny as hell. I have to print it out, then staple it together, so I can have an actual hard copy.

Er...writing. Yesterday, I only wrote 701 words on "The Sea Troll's Daughter," but that brought me to the end of Part One (there are two halves to this story), and I had to stop and ponder. Plus, I was very excited about The Ammonite Violin & Others, and that kind of slowed me down. Plus, I had a headache. And a note from Spooky.

Um...auctions. eBay. Books you need, even if you already own them. Here. You guys know the drill.

The jury's still out on Twitter (where I am, of course, greygirlbeast). I am enjoying twats from William Gibson and Moby. And I've made it to 441 followers, which means I only have 559 more to go before July 31st. Anyway, I'll post the 7th micro=excerpt from The Red Tree as soon as I finish this rather meandersome entry. Anyway, I'm sticking with Twitter for the time being, and I abandon MySpace in a few days.

Gotta get some more coffee. And find out why the platypus is wearing a lampshade on hisitsher head.

Hey...who the hell let the sun out?

And that post on Spooky's birthday left me needing more Concrete Blonde:

greygirlbeast: (The Kiss)
Yes, it's true. Today is Spooky's birthday!



And she'll just have to make do with the French-maid outfit this year, because the naughty-nurse outfit is in the dirty laundry (not inappropriately).

Um...yeah.

Yesterday, I wrote a very decent 1,551 words on "The Sea Troll's Daughter," which is coming out sort of vaguely like a quasi-feminist Beowulf. I hope this will be a good thing. Last night, Vince sent me the rough sketch for "The Mermaid of the Concrete Ocean" (to appear in Sirenia Digest #43). There's always a rough sketch, before the final version, so I can see what he has in mind. Here's this month's (behind the cut):

The Mermaid of the Concrete Ocean )


Here in Providence, we're trying to decide if it's King's The Mist or McCarthy's The Road. It has become apparent that, in order to determine which, we'll have to sally forth and see whether we have roving gangs of cannibals or alien bug monsters. Still grey, cloudy, rainy, chilly. No sun in the sky anymore.

So, for those watching the current eBay auctions, please note that The Merewife hardback auction will be ending tomorrow. My thanks to everyone who's bid thus far.

And micro-excerpt #4 from The Red Tree will be posted very soon at greygirlbeast. If we can just add 15 followers a day, I'll have a thousand by the time to book is released on August 4th. Promotion!*

And now, the platypus (and the coffee, and the birthday girl) calls.

* First person who names what the play (and its author) being referenced in today's micro-excerpt wins a mention in the blog tomorrow.
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
It seems impossible that this can be the Summer Solstice already. We've hardly had a whiff of summer in Providence. Hardly a whiff. And I'm so weighted down with the Tired and with deadlines that we've not had time to plan a ritual for this evening. Last year, we had such a wonderful Solstice on the rocks just north of Beavertail. I was hoping for a repeat this year. Anyway, one of the advantages of venerating all the nonconscious aspects of the Cosmos is knowing how indifferent the universe is to our little observances, and how it will take no notice whatsoever should we miss one, here or there. Panthalassa will not frown. Ur will not look askance. But I'll miss the ceremony, as it so helps my mind and my sense of the passing of time, ticking off these points along the wheel of the year. I do wish a fine Solstice to those who observe the day.

Anyway...

No writing yesterday. Not on four measly hours of sleep. Instead, we drove up to Boston. Ostensibly, to look for the tree that will be the Red Tree in the book trailer for The Red Tree. But, in fact, we mostly just wandered up and down Newbury Street and across Boston Commons and the Public Gardens. It was all rather splendid, a part of Boston I'd not seen. A place I wish I could live, where the past does not seem so entirely past. There are still vestiges of civilization showing through the grime of modernity, there on Newbury Street. You just have to peer past the people and the trendy shops and the trendier cafés. We overheard someone talking about rent on Newbury, $2600 (!!!) a month for an apartment. Only the rich can afford those particular vestiges. I shall have to be content with my rooms in this 1875 house here on Federal Hill. Yesterday, the weather was curious. The sky threatened thunder storms all day, but there wasn't even a drop of rain. Muggy, but no rain. An old man on the sidewalk played "All Along the Watch Tower" on an electric guitar, and it was wonderfully eerie. On the Commons, we watched squirrels and birds, and found a "dawn redwood" (Metasequoia) growing among the willows. In that city of overpriced everything, I was pleased to see that the boat rides (the swan boats that first began running in 1877), were only $2.75. We didn't go, though. Maybe next trip up. After Newbury Street, Spooky drove up to Cambridge and Harvard Square, and I saw the little cemetery that's mentioned in "Spindleshanks (New Orleans, 1956)," but we were too tired to stop.

Truthfully, my goddamn rotten feet made the whole day rather miserable, despite the wonderful sights. I'm reaching the point where the walking stick isn't sufficient, and may soon be resorting to a wheelchair for such things as wandering around Boston for hours at a time (almost three miles). I miss the days when I could walk and walk and walk, with hardly an ache at all. I miss dancing even more. I don't think I've really danced since November 2004. Between my feet and the seizures, I feel I've aged twenty years in the last five. There is no romance in invalidism, and I do not welcome this weakness. Anyway, we made it back home by about 8 p.m. We watched a couple of episodes of The X-Files and Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday (1940).

There are photos from yesterday (behind the cut):

20 June 2009 )


---

Cliff Miller writes, "There was a fire at the Georgia Theatre in Athens, causing heavy damage. I wondered if you had any memories of that place from your days in Athens that you might wish to share on the LJ?"

I heard about the fire at the Georgia Theater a couple of days back, and it saddened me enormously. I spent a lot of time at the Georgia Theater between 1994 and 1997. It's here I heard Concrete Blonde play, and met Johnette Napolitano (the same weekend I met [livejournal.com profile] docbrite). Death's Little Sister once played there, opening for someone (though I can't recall for whom). I'm glad to hear they plan to rebuild, but, of course, it'll never be the same.

---

I've begun tweeting the micropreview of The Red Tree over at greygirlbeast. The plan was to post a sentence a day, until the book is released on August 4th. Of course, I immediately realized that 140 characters won't accommodate many of those sentences. Today, for instance, I was only able to post the first three quarters or so of the first sentence. So, this is going to be a strange affair, indeed.

Please, if you haven't already, have a look at the current eBay auctions, all proceeds earmarked to help offset the cost of my attending ReaderCon 20 in July.

And, with that, the platypus says its time to get my skinny ass to the word mines....
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The writing went well yesterday. I did precisely 1,800 words. This puts the Word Bank at 2,196. I call that breathing room, should the need arise. At this point, it's 16 down, 15 days to go. Which sort of made yesterday the top of this tall hill. I am now headed down the other side and shall let gravity do what gravity does.

Good news from my editor yesterday. Daughter of Hounds is still on the Barnes and Noble SF/F trade paperback charts, at #30. If it makes my editor happy, it must be good. I have been disappointed, though, that there have not been more reviews.

Yesterday, the signature sheets for Tales from the Woeful Platypus went away to the printer in Dexter, Michigan. Subpress now has the cover posted, by the way. Those who have preordered the book should have it before much longer.

A nice e-mail from yesterday, courtesy Alan F.:

First things first: I'm a huge fan. I loved Daughter of Hounds, which came as no surprise at all, though when I think about the book now it's this sentence from p. 21 that will always come immediately to mind:

'His eyes are like spoonfuls of fire.'

God, I love that. The humour, too; Odd Willie made me laugh out loud at least half a dozen times (trust me, for me that's impressive).

About your forthcoming SF collection; I agree with one of the posted comments,
A is For Alien is a great title. Although - and assuming the story will be in there - what about calling it Bradbury Weather & Other Stories, which strikes me as a good way to pay homage to the man? Then again, going by the titles of your previous collections, maybe one ending in ...& Other Stories doesn't really work for you...

Thank you. I rather like Bradbury Weather & Other Stories. Or maybe just Bradbury Weather. Anyway, I have some time to figure all this out.

After the writing yesterday, I got dressed and left the house (insert collective gasp here). The weather had turned windy and bitter. Blegh. We drove over to Borders and picked up a copy of Mitch Cullin's Tideland. Gods, bookshops depress me. Then we stopped by Whole Foods for kava. Back home, Spooky made chili for dinner, and then we watched Sam Wood's splendid adaptation of Ernest Hemigway's For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943). I so adore this film — not as much as I adore the novel, but enough to land it in any longish list of my favorite films. And Gary Cooper always does it for me. Plus, Ingrid Bergman at 28 made a perfectly delightful 19 year old. Later, we read the first six chapters of Tideland, which I am happy to report is every bit as wonderful as Terry Gilliam's film version, though they are rather different approaches to the same story. The major difference so far is that while Gilliam's POV is clearly that of a child, Cullin's novel strikes me as a narrative written by an adult about events which occurred during childhood. Cullin may be joining the ranks of my favourite authors.

I've put a bunch of Concrete Blonde on my iPod. They were my favourite band from about 1991 until 1994 or so. I've hardly listened to Free or Bloodletting or Walking in London for ages now, as all these songs take me back to places I'd usually rather not recall. But. Now I'm listening. The music and lyrics hold up marvelously after all these years.

John Lennon, Doctor King, Harvey Milk —
And all for goddamn nothing.
God is a bullet. Have mercy on us everyone.

— Concrete Blonde, Free

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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