greygirlbeast: (wookie)
Which is to say thta yesterday was the eleventh day spent on this CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and today was the twelfth.

And now, now it is DONE.

The Red Tree CEM took me only eight days, and it was, by far, a much more tedious manuscript (mostly in terms if verifying "fair use," common use, etc. for quotes). And I had a better CE for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Spooky and I are both rather unable to explain why this one took so much longer.

Anyway, I am drooling fucking exhausted. Tomorrow, it all goes back in the mail to NYC. I've not had a day off in at least two weeks.

Meanwhile, please do have a look at the sale going on in Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop. Wonderful things! Go! Look! Buy goodies! Thank you.

And now...I'm gonna go do something that does not strain my brain meats.

Relieved,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
And this, Day 11, will be the last day with the CEM. Not only because I'm quite late getting it back, but because I'm sick to death of it. Not the novel, but working on the CEM, doubting every comma and period. Losing perspective and anything like objectivity.

Time is moving so fast. It used to puzzle me, but now I think I understand it's a sort of psychological time dilation. When we're young, say when we're ten, then five years is 50% of our lives. When we're twenty, it drops off to 25%. When we're forty, five years has become a mere 12.5%, and so forth. The longer one lives, the briefer any given span of time is perceived as being. The mind actually makes the span of time seem shorter than it did at an early age. Or, it may be this is some actual property peculiar to the fabric of time, but, at the moment, my psychological hypothesis seems more parsimonious. And, realizing all this, that's often been my best argument against suicide (though I strongly believe suicide is everyone's right and a personal decision, and I say this having lost someone I loved to suicide). Time is moving fast, and it moves faster and faster the older we get. If you hate life, just hang on. It'll be over "soon."

Yesterday, I slogged through the more tiresome aspects of the process of getting the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir ready to go back to my editor. Which is to say, heading down the steep slopes of Mount Taediosus, reaching the talus, one encounters great thickets of greenbriers and kudzu vines. The descent is slowed. And so forth. And today, I am reduced to double checking, mostly proving the things I've quoted are in public domain, or that I have quoted short enough portions that my quotes constitute fair use. Sometimes, this turns into black comedy, such as, for example, where I quoted Dante's Divina Commedia, which was, of course, written in the early fourteenth century. Obviously, it's in the public domain. But not so fast! Because, I quote both the original Italian and an English translation. So, which English translation did I quote? Because translations are subject to copyright, which means translated lines of a fourteenth century poem may well be under copyright.

But when asked, "Which translation did you use?" My response is, "Fuck if I know." Turns out, I used the translation made by Allen Mandelbaum between 1980 and 1984. Very much still in copyright. This means I have to quote the English translation lines from a much older translation, likely Henry Francis Cary's, which was done between 1805-1814, and is long, long out of copyright (therefore, in "public domain"). And so on, and on, and on, and on.

Thankfully, [livejournal.com profile] sovay was kind enough to read through the ms. again with an eye to this very problem, plus my copyeditor caught many of them.

Also. After adding, over the last week, an additional ten thousand words or so to the "Back Pages" portion of the ms., I began to fear I'd broken the book in so doing. I emailed it to Peter Straub, and he read over it again for me yesterday. And, says he, yes, I broke it. Chop the new stuff out. Which I will do, because I respect his opinion as much as that of almost any living author. Besides, cutting the new text will make my editor happy. An author must never, ever be afraid to take scalpel to child.

Also, I signed the signature sheets to the Centipede Press Machen collection.

And that was my yesterday. Pretty much. Oh, we're getting into Season Two of Mad Men, and I still can't figure out why they made the jump from 1960 to 1962. But it was disorienting, and I didn't even catch on until the third episode or so. And we read. And we slept. But I did not sleep enough.

Descending,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Phase One seems to have left no one burned, mangled, and/or bleeding. So, tomorrow, I have to finally turn my attention to the blasted CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Always I have found dealing with CEMs a distasteful, and, often, infuriating experience. And I expect I always will. I even recognize that my reaction to CEMs is not always rational. But I hate the things. I especially hate the things when copyeditors try to rewrite my prose; I can only hope that has not happened this time. I'm not in the mood for pyrotechnics.

Truth be told, I only want to be at the sea today. There is nothing else I want. There is nothing else I need, but that one thing I almost certainly will not get.

Summer is almost over.

Day before yesterday, I received contributor's copies of the limited and slip-cased edition of Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 3, which reprints my SF story, "Hydraguros," possibly my best SF story to date. The limited is sold out, but the trade edition is still available.

My thanks to Maria Gerspacher for a marvelous package, which reached me day before yesterday. Somehow, yesterday, when writing my blog entry, I apparently forgot any mail arrived the day before.

Last night, I read "A revision of the Lari (Aves, Charadriiformes) from the early Miocene of Saint-Gérand-le-Puy (Allier, France)" and "New materials of Argentoconodon fariasorum (Mammaliaformes, Triconodontidae) from the Jurassic of Argentina" in the July JVP. The first article was of especial significance, as I'm trying to begin to puzzle out the morphology of some of the local seabirds, many of which belong to this group (most notably, gulls).

I should clarify something: The second entry that showed up in this LJ yesterday wasn't written by me. It said, right at the top of the post, "Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna at The Year of the Unlimited Free Ebooks Brought to You By Amazon.com." Now, we can't be much clearer than that, can we? It wasn't my idea, but LJ posts can now be "shared," reposted in one's own LJ, and, in this case, I thought Cat was speaking very articulately on a subject that desperately needs addressing. But a number of people seem to think I wrote the post, and I didn't, and that was always plain as day. Pay attention, please.

And no, I will not write a story for your shitty little self-published anthology, and no, not even at the princely sum of 1¢ a word.

I want to write about how I've seen readership of the LJ falling off dramatically, and how I think a lot of that's to blame on the DDOS attacks against LJ (hence, the hackers win). I want to write about how LJ was already in decline before the DDOS attacks, because of Facebook and Twitter, and I want to write about how I believe this is because most people want instant gratification and so gravitate towards those more immediate and transient "social media," because, you know, blogging requires actual words, thoughtfulness, and the effort of reading. I want to write about how I've watched comments decline, and how I used to look at this journal as a means of communicating to my readers – that's why it exists – but how it's becoming something I write for myself, as fewer and fewer of my readers come to it, and even fewer comment. I wanted to ask that people please not comment just to tell me why they rarely comment because they think I'll think that by doing so I'll think they're being either fannish or behaving like stalkers. But I'm tired, and it's going to be a long day.

There are more important things to write about.

Whatever Comes Next,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
My adoration of the Banshee Queen, Sylvanas Windrunner, is pretty much legendary. Yes, here I am being the worst sort of dork. The most annoying breed of nerd. But it's true. She's one of the truly cool things about the lore of the World of Warcraft, and finally there's an action figure. And it's on my wish list at Amazon.com, at the very top, and the first person who buys it for me, thereby assuaging my insatiable nerd-lust, will receive a token of my appreciation. I don't know what yet, but I'll think of something. The giver of this gift of this graven image of my Dark Lady will win my eternal gratitude. Yes, I am being shameless. No, I don't care. It's Sylvanas freakin' Windrunner.***

***Update (2:45 p.m.): A kind soul has done the deed, and while I can imagine decorating the house with dozens of idols of Lady Sylvanas, Spooky would likely kill me if I did. So, thank you. Wish fulfilled.

---

Yesterday felt like things were finally getting back on track, writing wise. I did 1,019 words on a new vignette (though it's actually sort of a quasi-vignette, as many of my vignettes are, interweaving several scenes). I'm calling it "...Of the Cloud That Took the Form..." I think I'm going to like it. It has eastern Connecticut and aliens in the Jovian atmosphere. With luck, I might even finish it today. Then I'll need to begin the next piece for Sirenia Digest #59.

My thanks for all the suggestions yesterday. More are always welcome.

I also had to answer a few questions from the CE who's copyediting "The Maltese Unicorn," which will be appearing in Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir anthology. And Ellen tells me that Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy will be out before very much longer. It includes my story "The Collier's Venus (1893)."

And here are ten photographs from our drive through southeastern Massachusetts on Sunday. They include the World's Cutest Jumping Spider EVER. We may try another leaf-watching drive (hopefully with better results) this coming weekend, some place farther north:

17 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Kraken)
I'm probably feeling far too rabidly antisocial even for a journal entry this morning, but here goes. And isn't it odd that in 2009, an undertaking that was once the very definition of private— writing an entry in a journal or diary —has now become a public spectacle? It seems to me that "we" are so very afraid of a moment alone, truly and completely alone, without even the promise that someone will at least eventually look at what is being done, what we are thinking, what we are feeling. A society that is becoming increasingly exhibitionist, and, of course, also becoming increasingly voyeuristic. It's a nice psychotic balance, I suppose, a new ecosystem of excessive interaction. Or not new, only made more intent, more intensely so. Makes Big Brother's job easier, I suppose.

No writing yesterday. No busyness of writing yesterday (a few emails aside). We went to the shore, to see the heavy surf that was the aftermath of the storm. We went first to Narragansett, to Harbor of Refuge. We were both surprised by the violence of the waves. It was greater than what we'd expected. We walked out on the beach on the western side of the granite jetty. The air was full of salt mist and sea gulls, and the wind was bitter, though the day was freakishly warm (high 60sF here in Providence). The sun was bright, a white hole of fire punched in the sky. It was almost impossible to hear one another over the roar of the waves, but then, there was nothing that needed saying, anyway. We found a surfboard washed up on the sand, its owner nowhere to be seen. It was clear that the high tide, which had been sometime around 9 a.m. (CaST), had come well inland, into the brush and salt marshes north of the harbor. It appeared that wooden barricades had been erected the day before to keep back sightseers, but the waves had smashed them. Spooky found an orange blob of fish eggs amongst the flotsam. I'm not sure how high the waves were— officially, I mean —but they were slamming against and over-topping the jetty (which is 5-7 feet high, if you're standing on the beach it protects), sending spray twenty or thirty feet into the afternoon air.

We left Harbor of Refuge, having decided we wanted to see what was going on farther west, at Moonstone Beach. But first we went all the way down to Point Judith, where the tide was lower than I'd ever seen it before. Mossy green rocks were exposed, and tide pools, but the waves were too treacherous to try for a look at what might be stranded in them. The foghorn at the lighthouse called out over the crash of the breakers.

On the way to Moonstone Beach, I pointed out a bumper sticker to Spooky. "Do No Harm." As if that's even possible, as if every human action, no matter how profound or mundane, doesn't do harm in some way. Still, I suppose it's a nice sentiment.

We reached Moonstone as the sun was getting low. We'd stopped somewhere along the way so I could photograph a field, still green in December. We passed cows and flooded pastures. When we finally reached Moonstone Beach, we found it completely transformed by the storm. The usual carpet of cobbles and pebbles was swept away or buried. Much of the sand was stained black with the ghost of the '96 oil spill. The waves were almost as impressive as those at Harbor of Refuge, four and half miles to the east. Despite low tide, the brackish tea-colored water in Trustom Pond was very high, rushing loudly through the spillway into Card Pond. Spooky and I walked west, towards Green Hill, walking into the wind. But we only went a hundred yards or so. The sun slipped behind clouds advancing from Long Island Sound, and the temperature abruptly plummeted. By the time we made it back to the car, we were shivering and the dunes were in shadow.

And that was yesterday. I have enough photographs for several days, and the first seven are behind the cut below.

Please note that we've begun a new round of eBay auctions. And that Spooky has only four of her Cthulhu-headstone Cehalopodmas ornaments remaining (of the ten she made); you can see (and purchase) them in her Etsy Dreaming Squid Dollworks shop.

There will be no writing today. I have to finish editing "Sanderlings" and get the chapbook ready to send to Subterranean Press. Also, I need to undo a large number of changes that an over-zealous copy-editor wrought upon one of my stories. I will not name the story, the book, or the editors— it wasn't their fault. I just wish publishers would start firing copy-editors who try to become authors vicariously, by "correcting," and thereby mangling, prose. It is an enormous waste of my time that I have to go back, now, and fix what wasn't broken to begin with.

Photos from Harbor of Refuge:

3 December 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
So...by now, all subscribers should have Sirenia Digest #40. It went out about 11:30 p.m. last night (EDT). If you are a subscriber and haven't yet received #40, and you've looked to see that it's not in the spam trap, please email Spooky at crkbooks(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll fix you up.

And now, I'm taking the next week off. Three weeks in March were supposed to have been vacation-time (which is really recharge so I can write more time), but, instead, I wrote "As Red as Red," helped Spooky with the CEM of The Red Tree, and wrote "A Canvas for Incoherent Arts." This morning, I'm sending an email to my editor and agent asking not to be disturbed for the next seven days, unless my entire career depends upon it. So, entries here might be sparse for a few days.

I have reached a level of physical and mental exhaustion that...well, I am amazed that I was able to write anything in March. It's not a bottomless well, the story pool. I often treat it that way, and then I start wondering why I'm having to work three times as hard to get half as much story from it. And I'm looking at everything that must be done in the spring and early summer: Sirenia Digest, new short stories for three different anthologies, and I have to begin the Next Novel. Which means that first, finally, I have to pause and allow the pool to start filling up again. And I'll torture that extended metaphor no longer.

Yesterday, Anne (my editor) sent me sample pages from a sort of test galley for The Red Tree, so that I could get some sense of how the design folks at Penguin are approaching the multiple typefaces, etc. that the novel calls for. And it's looking very good. Also, the CEM went back into the mail, and should reach NYC tomorrow.

As I type this, there are three hours and forty-one minutes remaining on the long-lost Monster Doodle sculpture auction. So, you might want to take a look. Googledy eyes and all.

And now...it's not time to make the doughtnuts. So, take it easy, platypus. Chill out, dodo. You can both have another go at me next Wednesday. I bleed better when I'm rested.
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
I have to admit, this (from imdb) brought a smile to my sleepy face:

"Ad Agency Says It Wasn't To Blame For SyFy Rebranding

27 March 2009 2:37 AM, PDT

With the Sci-Fi Channel being lampooned for its decision to change its name to SyFy -- a slew of syphilis jokes have arisen over the rebranding -- the advertising agency representing the channel took the extraordinary step Thursday of distancing itself from the name-change call. Ken Runkel, executive director of Landor Associates, the branding firm hired by Sci Fi, told today's (Friday) New York Post, 'Yes, we worked with the Sci-fi Channel, and it hired us to consult on the project. However, SyFy was a name generated internally and pretested at the channel before our involvement.'"

---

Yesterday, I began a new vignette for Sirenia Digest #40, "A Canvas for Incoherent Arts," and wrote the first 1,098 words. I hope to finish it this afternoon. Also, I gave Spooky a hand with the CEM for The Red Tree. This is the least marked-up CEM I've ever received, and I'm hardly having to stet at all. We're thinking we'll be done with the CEM this evening, which will be a record for me (two days).

At this point, I've not had a genuine, full-blown "day off" in eighteen days, not since the 11th. And by the time the Digest goes out, it will have been a full 20 days (!!!). And Spooky keeps reminding me that I was supposed to have taken a three-week vacation in March, and that I took only one, so...likely the first week of April will be time off. I hope.

---

Four bids now on the long-lost Monster Doodle sculpture. Have a look. How can you resist those buggy eyes?

Also, the release date of the new trade-paperback edition of Alabaster is fast approaching!

---

Here in Providence, the weather is slowly, ever so imperceptibly, lurching towards spring. Days in the 50s and 40s, instead of the 30s and 20s. But the trees are still bare, and the ground is mostly still brown. It's hard not to miss the green of late March in Atlanta and Birmingham, no matter how much I might be glad to finally be free of the South.

---

Night before last, Shaharrazad and Suraa managed to cross the sea from Darkshore and explore Bloodmyst Isle, Azuremyst, and Teldrassil. We didn't even have to kill any NPCs. So, we landed the "Explore Kalimdor" achievement. We both remain at Level 63, running low-level quests to curry favour with Orgrimmar and the Darkspear trolls. Speaking for Shah, it's much more in character than lending aid to those two-faced bastards in the Argent Dawn and the Cenarion Circle. I fear Shaharrazad is pretty much a hardline loyalist when it comes to the Horde. Also, last night I did a little rp with the Alpha Institute in SL.

And now...it's time to make the damn doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Mars from Earth)
Up since 7:30 ayem, which might not have been so bad, except I didn't get to sleep until sometime after three, probably more like four.

There was snow in Providence yesterday evening, but the ground wasn't frozen, and it didn't stick. In the night, it changed over to rain.

Sometime just before I awoke, I dreamt of collecting fossils on Mars. I very, very frequently dream of collecting fossils, but usually the terran variety. In this dream, however, I was on Mars, in a very lightweight spacesuit. There was someone with me, but I can't recall now if it was someone I know in my waking life or not. We were walking a long river valley, a sort of braided river valley, which ran north to south (and the Ares Vallis comes to mind). Anyway, the ground was a very light grey, almost purple in places, a weathered clay or mudstone or siltstone of some sort. I came upon a small rise in the old riverbed (or flood channel) where an amazingly rich bone bed was exposed. The fossil bone was almost the same color as the stone, though I recall the unweathered parts being purplish and the more weathered surfaces being almost white. All the bones were disarticulated, but looked as though they'd come from Martian analogs of Late Paleozoic sarcopterygians and temnospondyls. Mostly, there were isolated skull bones: frontals, parietals, postorbitals, squamosals, parasphenoids, jugals, etc. I was elated to have come so unexpectedly upon such a wealth of bones, and was bagging them as quickly as possible. Whoever the person with me was, he or she was trying to get me to hurry, as we'd been away from the habitat too long, and there was concern about cosmic rays. Something like that. Still, I managed to fill two specimen bags. Marvelous dream. Maybe this is my subconscious telling me to get back to work on The Dinosaurs of Mars.

---

The last two days are a blur of editing The Red Tree. The good news, though, is that the ms. has to be back in Manhattan by Monday, so this can only possibly continue another four days, at the worst. Though I hopefully suspect that there's only two days work left to be done. I just got an email from Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay), who very kindly went through and found all the quotes within the text, quotes from other works. They're all either "fair use" or quotes from works in the public domain (and most are the latter), but I have to provide documentation for each quote for legal at Penguin. Writing all that up will likely require a day. Yeah, see what fun shit authors get to do? And that will be that, at least until the CEM. But, this time, Spooky will be handling the CEM for me, mostly, so that's a relief. She can write "stet" as well as I can ("stet" is a proofreaders mark, Latin for "let it stand," and when one wishes to disregard a copyeditor's mark, one writes "stet" in the margin of the page. My CEMs get hundreds and hundreds of "stets").

The eBay auctions continue. Thanks to everyone who has bid thus far. Take a look. Bid if you are able and interested.

---

One of the many things that needed doing in this round of editing The Red Tree required that I read Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear" again. It's really one of the most atrociously written of HPL's stories, and a testament to how stupendously his writing improved from the early 1920s to the early and mid-1930s. Anyway, yeah, I had to read back over the story on Tuesday, because there's a line from it that I'd been trying to recall, that I wanted to use for one of Sarah Crowe's novels (Sarah is the protagonist of The Red Tree). I last read the story back in June, when we were driving up from Atlanta; while we were driving through the Catskills, in fact. And I found this one line, and I thought, That would make a great title for one of Sarah's novels. But, I didn't mark it. Hence the need for a re-read. However, halfway through the story on Tuesday, I could take no more, had not found the line, and decided that The Ark of Poseidon would remain The Ark of Poseidon. I did, however, rediscover a very interesting thing.

I have argued in the past that Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House (1959) owes a considerable debt to Lovecraft, in particular to "The Dreams in the Witch House." But I can also point to a passage in "The Lurking Fear." At the end of Chapter Five of The Haunting of Hill House, Eleanor and Theo experience another harrowing visit to their bedroom by the entity that "walked there" in Hill House. In her terror, Eleanor reaches out and takes Theo's hand, and she squeezes it tightly. At the very end of the chapter, however, the lights come up, and Nell discovers that she couldn't have been holding Theo's hand, after all, as Theo is still across the room in her own bed. Jackson writes:

"What?" Theodora was saying. "What, Nell? What?"
"God god," Eleanor said, flinging herself out of bed and across the room to stand shuddering in a corner, "God god — whose hand was I holding?"


In "The Lurking Fear," HPL's protagonist has an almost identical experience when he and two companions spend a night at the Martense mansion on Tempest Mountain. Three men fall asleep in one bed. The narrator is in the middle. Though in a sort of fever dream, he is distinctly aware that one of his companions, at one point, throws an arm across the narrator's chest. Then he awakes to find both men dead and horribly mutilated. HPL writes:

Something had lain between me and the window that night, but I shuddered whenever I could not cast off the instinct to classify it. If it had only snarled, or bayed, or laughed titteringly — even that would have relieved the abysmal hideousness. But it was so silent. It had rested a heavy arm or fore leg on my chest...

---

Last night, Spooky and I watched Ridley Scott's Body of Lies, which I wish I'd been able to see in the theatre. I thought it was splendid. And it occurred to me that, unlike the Vietnam War, the great movies about America's war against Middle Eastern nations are being made right now, while the events are still unfolding. Which is an interesting state of affairs. Of course, history could always prove me wrong. Maybe the Iran or Iraq or Afghanistan Apocalypse Now won't be made until 2020 or so.

There. A nice long entry of substance, despite the insomnia. Screw you, "micro-blogging."

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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