greygirlbeast: (kong2)
Here's the thing. If you're going to fake a bigfoot sighting, at least make sure that the gorilla or bear or wookie costume fits the idiot who'll be wearing it. Also, rednecks will shoot at anything.

greygirlbeast: (white3)
Still very white Outside. There was a little new snow last night.

No day off yesterday. Instead, I wrote 1,025 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Today, I mean to make a great push and try to reach the end of Chapter 4, though it's at least 2,000 words ahead. I panicked a little yesterday, mostly because I realized Part One of the novel will be six chapters long, after all. Which means I don't have seven chapters remaining, but eight. So, there you go.

Lots of email answered yesterday. Lately, it seems I'm saying no more often than yes. When people ask me to write a short story or a foreword or whatever. There's just so little time. It all comes down to time, and how much of it I do not have.

Yesterday, I discovered how foolish it was not to have cleaned the snow off the van right after the storm. I measured about eight inches on top of the car. Anyway, while Spooky dug out around the wheels, I scraped at the windshield. Well, mostly I dug and pried small boulders of ice loose. There were patches of ice below the snow, stuck fast to the windshield, that were the exact color of old Coca-Cola bottles. Pretty, but a bitch to get off. She went to the market. I stayed home and wrote. This is the usual way of things.

---

Something that amused me a great deal, Charles Stross has compiled a collection of Amazon reader "reviews" of classics. The "reviews" are predictably wretched. But sort of funny, in a gut-wrenching way, when it's not one of my books the idiots in question are on about. For instance, from a review of The Lord of the Rings:

I can't stand this book! These fantasy things are really getting to me! I don't see how someone could read such un-true and so unbelievebly weird stuff!

Or, from a review of Catch 22: I personally don't read that many books, but this is one of the worst books I ever read. First, they're are too many characters. This book has too many characters that I can't remember even one of them in my head. They include many minor characters that nobody cares so you get confused about it. Second, it has too many mini-stories. It has lots of short stories that doesn't relate to any of the other stories and they are usually pretty boring. Third this is none sense. It doesn't have a major theme or anything and it's just talking about air force men being board of the war and just being crazy.

This is the future, and each and every moron has been given a public forum.

---

Last night we had hot dogs and a halfhearted attempt at Kindernacht. We streamed four episodes of MonsterQuest, which is actually a lot worse than I'd expected. Which is probably like being disappointed by a MacDonalds' cheeseburger or a Taco Bell "chalupa."

Later, Spooky read me Kelly's Link's "Most Of My Friends Are Two-Thirds Water," which was very, very good.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thank you. Now, the words must flow.

Yours in Bafflement,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday was wretched. Not much point watering down the truth. My head wasn't right, and my guts were worse. I spent a good bit of the day in bed. No writing was done. I didn't go Outside. Nothing was accomplished.

We shall see what today will be.

There were a few "slits of light" to yesterday. Peter sent me a copy of The Juniper Tree And Other Blue Rose Stories (Subterranean Press). The mail brought a very small royalty check from Steve Jones in London, for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror.

Then last night, after trying to sit up awhile, I went back to bed. Spooky and I watched the newest episode of Project Runway (I really, really love Mondo). We watched two episodes of some exceptionally ridiculous Animal Plant cryptozoology series. The first imagined a plesiosaur in Monterey Bay; the second was about the "Oklahoma Octopus." Gotta say, if I were younger, I'd start a punk band called Oklahoma Octopus. Anyway, then we watched J.T. Petty's The Burrowers (2008), which, quite unexpectedly, turned out to be marvelous. It belongs to that all too neglected genre, the Weird Western. There are a few missed notes: the start is a little slow, and I could have done without the final shot, which was unnecessary. But, all in all, well acted, well filmed, and creepy as hell. It's one of those rare dark films where things start out very bad and just keep getting worse, spiraling down to a place no one and nothing can ever escape. The Burrowers can be streamed free from Netflix. Check it out.

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

---

A comment from [livejournal.com profile] dragau, from day before yesterday (or the day before that), back to the subject of the lack of characterization in Neal Stephenson's novels:

Often when I read Stephenson, I feel the omission you describe, that his characters are indifferent toward their mindless drudgery of existence, and they follow their paths as pawns lacking anything better to do, their lives predestined. For the Baroque Cycle, I was hoping for a novel on par with Gary Jennings. Instead, we got an extended soap opera like War and Peace with its cookie-cutter characterization. After my disappointment with Anathema, I will be waiting to buy used paperbacks of his future novels.

As a measure of comparison, I think Stephenson serves better in contrast with your own stories. Many of your own characters also experience the drudgery and recognize the futility of fighting their fates, but you seize that oppression and wring from it every emotion and metaphor. You mop the floor with the tears and self-pity of those who surrender. Meanwhile, your strong characters rally themselves with the adage "I can fuck plenty with the future," and then they act, win or lose.

Conversely, Stephenson's protagonists are often mere witnesses to great events or they are catalysts. When they do perform a climactic act, their achievement really is being in the right place at the right time. This is progressively more so in his later novels, whereas you got the manipulative plot tropes worked out of your system early, and now for example, although the reader may know your main character will commit suicide, the paths leading to that eventuality will have many branches of uncertainty.


The only point with which I would disagree is that I don't make a distinction between strong and weak characters in my stories. Sometimes, surrender requires more resolve and greater courage than does fighting.

---

Come here, pretty please.
Can you tell me where I am?
You, won't you say something?
I need to get my bearings.
I'm lost,
And the shadows keep on changing.

And I'm haunted,
By the lives that I have loved
And actions I have hated.
I'm haunted,
By the lives that wove the web
Inside my haunted head
-- Poe, "Haunted"
greygirlbeast: (grey)
Okay. Here I am on the far side of house-guest visitation. One peril of existing just slightly outside any actual temporal continuum is that everything is always over before it's really even begun, or it's just begun before it's hardly even over, or rather, that is my perception of events. Anyway, yes, Jada is on her way back to Little Rock, and Jennifer McGinty (née Garland) is safely back in Birmingham (well, as safe as anyone can be in Birmingham). And here is my odd little life again, the return to day-to-day, humdrum, business as usual. Everything in its place.

I won't bore you with too many of the details. Dinner Friday night at the Corner Tavern. We sat up talking about stuff that happened too long ago to be clearly recalled. I've known Jada since 1977, and Jennifer since 1988. I was helping Jen unload her car, and she said, "Hey, I've known you for twenty years." I stopped and counted and was relieved that she's only known me for nineteen. I've only known Spooky for eight years, so it was all pretty dull for her, listening to our reminiscences about previous lifetimes successfully survived and escaped and only dimly recollected. Jennifer wanted a bedtime story, so I read "In the Dreamtime of Lady Resurrection."

Yesterday, we wandered about the scabby wasteland of L5P, then met Byron for dinner at our favourite Thai restaurant, then we headed back to L5P for the They Might Be Giants show at the Variety Playhouse. It was wonderful, of course. We picked up a copy of the new CD, The Else (the bonus disc version), signed by the band. I know there was other stuff, but it's all a blur. Oh, but one of the Johns had the most apt observation about Little Five Points, that a part of Atlanta that was once very much like Harvard Square has now become little more now than a Southern version of St. Mark's Place.

I managed to go two full days and spend no more than twenty minutes on Second Life, which is amazing, and proves I have not yet entirely lost sight of the Prime Actuality.

And there is still no evidence that El Chupacabra is anything but a mangy coyote.

And now, nothing stands between me and finally sitting down to begin Joey Lafaye. I'm trying to get the prologue to crystallize in my head. But I'm having some difficulty deciding whether the prologue occurs in late Victorian England or the 1970s or last week, which I will admit is sort of a problem. But I must start this novel, today or tomorrow. No more time to waste, as of two months ago.

Er...there must now be coffee.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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