greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
Note that I will make a post just after midnight (CaST), probably just a few words, and then this journal will "go black" as a protest against SOPA/PIPA. The blackout will end at midnight (CaST) on the 19th. No, I don't think it will change a thing. The whole internet going black won't change a thing. That's not the point. Sometimes we tilt at windmills because it's the right thing to do. We have also been assured that President Obama will block the legislation, and there's word Congress is already preparing to shelve it. By the way, my book sales are being seriously harmed by internet piracy, and I still oppose SOPA/PIPA. You do not burn down a fucking house to kill a termite.

And, more good news. Believed lost for some 165 years, hundreds of paleobotanical thin sections, once owned by Charles Darwin, have been rediscovered in the archives of the British Geological Survey.

If I do not leave the house today, it will have been eleven days since last I left the house. This is becoming serious. Again. And I have to face it and get out of here.

When we went to bed about 3:30 a.m., there was a very light dusting of snow on the ground, already beginning to melt.

I had a dream, this morning, that one of my molars fell out. This isn't unusual. I frequently have dreams of breaking and shattering teeth. I have bad teeth, and, moreover, many psychoanalysts believe this a sign that someone – whichever dreamer in question - feels they have lost, or are losing control of...well, whatever. In this case, I point to Alabaster #4. As I near the end of the next to last issue of the first series, I am terrified I am making missteps, that I was never cut out to write comics. And I cannot fail in this. Every single word matters, and, in many ways, this is a far, far more difficult undertaking than writing a novel. Yesterday, I wrote three more pages, 16-18 (manuscript pages 27-29, 951 words), which is probably more than I should have written yesterday. Likely, I will finish the three remaining pages today.

Please be reminded of the auction of ARC of the The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. By the way, if you haven't seen Publishers Weekly's STARRED review of the novel, you ought. Sure, too much time is wasted on synopsis, but too many reviewers these days don't know the difference between a review and book report.

Oh, and here's a photograph Spooky took day before yesterday, when I was washing my hair. All my life, I've known I had a birthmark on the back of my neck, just at and under the hairline. This is the first time I've ever seen it (behind the cut).

Birthmark )


After the writing, I curled up on the chaise in the middle parlor, in front of the fire place (it only sounds a tenth as cozy as it actually is), with the iPad and finished watching the National Geographic pterosaur documentary. It only got worse. Aside from Kevin Padian and David Unwin, actual experts on pterosaur paleontology were generally ignored (where was Peter Wellnhofer, for example, or Chris Bennett, or Dave Martill?). The science went from slipshod to fanciful. In short, whoever wrote this thing just started making shit up. Assemblages of animals were shown coexisting in the same environment, even though we know they belonged to different faunas separated by tens of millions of years. At least a third (and maybe half) of the documentary was wasted on an attempt to build a mechanical scale model of a pterosaur that would fly as a pterosaur flew. But it didn't work, even though the designers cheated right and left on the design (adding an elaborate "rudder" to an anhanguerine, for example, a group that all but lacked a tail, and certainly didn't use them for stabilization during flight). No, no, no. Bad science. This is National Geographic? My advice, stay away from this one.

Later, before sleep, I read Bruce Sterling's "Maneki Neko" (1998), a somewhat dull bit of cyberpunk. Near as I could tell, it was hellbent on showing that just as there's truth to the "ugly American" stereotype, there's also the "ugly Japanese." No shock there. The story's most interesting aspect is it's view of what the internet would become, but, in the ensuing fourteen years, has failed to do so.

And it's getting late. And I should scoot.

Scooting,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
A wild, wild wind* in Providence, the sky trying to blow down the world. The sun-buffeted clouds rushing by as if played fast forward. It makes me anxious, that much wind. That much wind battering the roofs.

In high school, I used to drive a particular English teacher to distraction by asking questions like, "If the plural of hoof is hooves, then why isn't rooves the plural of roof?" For a few months, she tried to pacify me with diachronic linguistics and etymology, but there came a point she'd had enough, and after that the only answer I ever got was "Because that's the way it is. If you're going to learn the English language, you must accept that a lot of it simply doesn't make sense. It's inconsistent. It's contradictory." Which felt like a victory.

These days, the meds do a pretty good job of keeping Monsieur Insomnia and the nightmares and dreamsickness at bay. But not this morning. It was five a.m. before I managed to get to sleep, and then...well...when I finally woke at a quarter past noon, to the roar of this wind, I wished I'd never fallen asleep.

Yesterday, I wrote the first four pages of Alabaster #4, the first eight manuscript pages, 1,480 words. Today I need to do at least another four pages. And there was a lot of other stuff. I should be posting additional upcoming appearances soon. It's beginning to look as if I'm going to spend more time in March and April out in the world schlepping my books than I am accustomed to doing. Pry me free of the house, and send me out into the snowless winter and the wind. See if I care.

Last night, after writing, I was so tired I had a half hour nap while Spooky made meatloaf, and then drifted about in a daze all night long. More asleep than awake. Though, in truth, I never felt awake yesterday, it just grew worse in the evening. I wasn't up to anything but lying in bed, so we watched seven episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Jeff Goldblum has shown up, and he's truly quite excellent. I'm not yet awake enough to be sure if the weariness is still with me, but the weather would have me think so.

Scoured,
Aunt Beast

* Presently (1:49 p.m.) 26mph gusting to 48mph.
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
Comment today, kittens. It'll help.

Three years ago, on December 24th, I wrote these lines:

"Last night, as I tried to find sleep, Spooky and I talked about having a farm. I would give up writing, I said, except for those things I wanted passionately to write, and we would have goats and chickens and an old horse and sheep and bees and rabbits. Orchards of apples and blueberry bushes behind fieldstone walls. We would have an enormous garden. It would be hard, hard work, but we would be as self sufficient as anyone can hope to be in this odd millennium. We'd only need to buy grain and sugar and coffee and such. We'd have a windmill for electricity, and a well. It was a pretty dream, no matter how impossible, to have before sleep and the inevitable nightmares, a dream of dirty hands and sweat and not sitting in this chair every goddamn day, worrying about sales figures."

Three years later, I still resurrect the daydream, now and again. Or Kathryn will. It's not dead.

---

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] mizliz (in response to my second entry yesterday), expressed her confusion over the meaning (to use the word loosely) of Z'omglol. Not wanting to dig too deeply into the politics and semantics of the more asinine denizens of MMORPGs – which would be, depending on the game, 75%-90% of the players – I'll toss out the quick answer, cribbed from that most tiresome of sources, the "Urban Dictionary." To wit:

zOMG is a varient of the all-too-popular acronym 'OMG,' meaning 'Oh My God'. The 'z' was originally a mistake while attempting to hit the shift key with the left hand, and type 'OMG.' Also used in all-caps, 'ZOMG' is generally used in a sarcastic manner, more often than not a humiliating fasion [sic]. It is also used as a device for stating the obvious.

Which is to say, in gaming, it shows up in the "too cool for school" crowd, the faux rebels who believe themselves so above it all (especially the concept of RP) that they choose these ironic names. Even though, for the most part, they couldn't define irony if their weaselly little existences depended on it. Because, you know. When there's no room in hell the dead will walk the earth. You're welcome, kittens.

---

Yesterday, though. I am neglecting yesterday. We'd planned to watch the original Star Wars trilogy, but got started too late and only made it through Star Wars (that would be – ahem – "Episode IV: A New Hope") before dinner (leftover meatloaf with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes, Precious). I saw Star Wars when it was first released in theatres back in 1977, thirty-four years ago. I was in eighth grade. And I thought Star Wars was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Until The Empire Strikes Back came along in 1980, a film I loved so much I saw it twenty times in theatres that summer. Looking back at Star Wars (1977) yesterday, it seemed astoundingly quaint. I know that there was an intentional innocence that Lucas was trying to capture, but the quaintness goes far beyond that. And, too, the acting is often terribly wooden, a fact I blame on Lucas, who simply is incapable of good direction. One reason that The Empire Strikes Back is so much better than its predecessor is that the directing reins were passed to Irvin Kershner. Anyway...playing the SW:otR MMORPG, I wanted to revisit. And it was...odd.

I can also say that I have settled on a title for the second "best of" volume (which will not be out until 2014, so please don't ask ridiculous questions about pre-orders). I'm liking Weave a Circle Round Her Thrice: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume 2).

Also, I read Wilum Pugmire's rather enchanting "The Fungal Stain." And then, having managed to get into bed before two-thirty a.m. (!), I proceeded to watch an amazingly creepy film, Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton's Yellowbrickroad (2010). I know that critics pretty much brushed this one aside, but by the time it ended (about four-thirty a.m.) I was so disturbed I had to switch the light on to get to sleep. I find no shame in admitting such a thing. Yellowbrickroad is clearly very heavily influenced by both House of Leaves and The Blair Witch Project (and were I not writing this, I'd say The Red Tree). It is one of those stories about a Wrong Place. Or...well...the less said the better. It's a slow burn, quiet with sudden moments of horror, whispered impossibilities, and a marvelously surreal ending. The ending (and pacing) are likely why so much of the slasher crowd couldn't wrap their brains around this film. Anyway, this is my recommendation. See it (it's streaming free from Netflix).

And I should go. Because, even though this is my vacation, I have work to do. January is beginning to look like the worst train wreck in history.

Quasi-Vacating,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
The thing about those bow-tie HPLHS Solstice CDs is you gotta be in the same room with them, hearing the lyrics, or they just start sounding like the putrescent Xmas Muzak we must suffer if we are to have groceries. We went out to the market last night, and there was actually Shirley Fucking Temple! No, really. I swore that next November we're laying in supplies.

And here we are, on that shortest day of the year (well, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere; if you're below the Equator, strike that, reverse it), and, to those who wish to be wished such, Happy Yuletide. Or Midwinter. Or what have you.

There was a dream about changelings. I almost typed, "and not the good kind of changelings, either," but then reminded myself how the world and I often have different operative paradigms about things like changelings. Regardless, first they were Italian, then Greek. Dead chickens were involved.

Yesterday, there were errands (aforementioned grocer, liquor store, and chemist). We decorated our Cephalopodmas tree (photo behind the cut, below!). We had the last of Sunday's chili with Annie's mac and cheese. I took two naps in the middle parlour; I blame the fireplace. And – sorry, changing the subject a moment – it just occurred to me how much The National sound like Roy Orbison. Anyway, last night there was rain and much wind, and too much SW:toR, and I slightly over "self-medicated," which is probably why I was visited by Greek changelings with dead chickens.

For dog's sake, I fucking hate December. I am July.

But, today we are going to the sea.

And here are photos – the Cephalopodmas tree, Cephalopodmas cookies, and – just because – Idumea, still a work in progress:

22 December 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
Took the "Break in Case of Emergency" pill this morning at five ayem, that tricksy gem in my prescription pharmacoepia, that I so very rarely touch. Because it hits within mere minutes, and it hits like a freight train (the passenger sort would only stun) and wears off about eighteen hours later. I slept more than 8.5 hours, a sleep which culminated with a dream of a post-apocalyptic (not one word, that adjective) plague that slowly, horribly transformed the infected into bat-like alien things. It isn't a dream I wish ever to go near ever again.

And I'm not awake. My left eyelid (blind eye), keeps closing of its own accord.

[livejournal.com profile] readingthedark arrived early in the evening, we had dinner from the hot bar at Whole Foods, then headed to the show at the Met. The first band sucked empty donkey ballsacks. Don't even recall the band's name. A bunch of fucking hipster poseurs from Brooklyn trying to audition for the Grand Ole Opry. But the second band, Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons, were rather damn bow tie. Singer looked a lot like Michael Wincott (swoon), and the sound was sort of like a collision between Rockabilly and Bob Dylan and Nick Cave and a really skanky honky-tonk five miles outside Yazoo City, Mississippi.

Brown Bird (buy Salt for Salt TODAY), returning home after a long tour, looked a little haggard, but sounded better than I've ever heard them sound. A mountain of bow tie. It was even worth enduring the drunks and texting idiots. And here's a thing? Why do people pay to attend a show, then spend the whole goddamn show texting? Or even spend five minutes doing it? Are they truly so attached at the genitals to their cell phones and social fucking networks that they can't stop that shit fot a couple of hours and just listen? Anyway, fuck them, and Brown Bird remains the finest Appalachian-Roots-Yiddish-Doom-Folk band anywhere on Earth.

And that's all I'm writing today. I'm still stoned, and I'm on vacation, motherfuckers.
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
0. Sometimes I have to quote myself: "Sex is not a pole in a hole. Sex is a banquet."

1. Yesterday, I put nose to grindstone and wrote pages 18-22 of Alabaster #3, and finished the issue. Today, I make a few corrections and send it to my editor at Dark Horse. This evening or tomorrow, I'll begin the new short piece for Sirenia Digest #72, and as soon as that's done, I have to get Alabaster #4 written before my vacation begins on the 15th.

2. And, kittens, please don't forget Question @ Hand #5! Thank ye.

3. As promised, here is the final cover layout for the trade paperback edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, to be released by Penguin on March 6, 2012:

A Cover That Doesn't Suck! )


And if you wonder why "A Memoir" isn't on the cover (I think I discussed this earlier), it's because my publisher worried doing so would cause "consumers" (shutter quotes!) to mistake the novel for an autobiography. And knowing how stupid most "consumers" (shutter quotes again!) are, I agreed. Thing is, this novel is an autobiography. It's India Morgan Phelps fictional autobiography, which, in large part, is drawn from my actual life, making this (like The Red Tree before it) a very autobiographical book. A complex, fictionalized autobiography. Also, I draw a distinction between consumers, readers, and smart readers, hence the derogatory shutter quotes.

4. By the way, for anyone who really didn't understand what the whole 0.003¢ hoopla was about yesterday, think of it this way: Imagine you have a job that you work at for nine hour a day. But you're only paid for three of those hours. And, on top of that, you're only paid one third of one third of minimum wage. Ergo, the hoopla.

5. There was a spectacular dream this ayem, and one that was very disturbing, even if I can't explain precisely why it disturbed me. First, I was deep in the Everglades, walking along a stone wall that lined green waters, clear as crystal. The water was choked with eelgrass, especially where it met the wall. A woman walked with me, and we talked, but I have no idea who she was, if she were anyone at all. There were gigantic cottonmouth moccasins in the water, and huge fish, and alligators, and a bizarre aquatic species of babirusas. All that life in the water, astounding. And then the cypresses and Spanish moss parted and we walked down onto Moonstone Beach. A single enormous wave, the bluest wave I'd ever seen (but shot through with foamy white), rose above us. It must have been at least thirty feet tall. We turned and ran, and when it broke against the sand, only our feet got wet.

6. I shall no longer put off the summation of my feelings regarding SW:toR. That is, my feelings as gleaned from my three days at the end of the beta, the impression I was able to form over three days, twenty-plus hours, and 14.3 levels with my Twi'lek Sith, Herazade (the Merciless). And these I will not belabor. If you don't like running, and running a lot, and running a lot over the same ground, this is not the game for you. The running didn't bother me, but that might be that because my first MMORPG was WoW back when you had to make it to Level 30 before you could get trained for a mount and buy one. The only major drawback for me was that the game – while, on the one hand, being generally very friendly to solo players – absolutely requires grouping for "flashpoints" that cannot be skipped (without screwing up your character's progress through the story). And I will never, ever cease to resent and find angrifying the attempt by anyone or anything to require that I socialize. That said, it's pretty simple, grouping for the flashpoints (I only had to do one): you stand outside the instance until someone asks you to be in their group. Even I was able to endure it. Essentially, these are little "dungeons" or episodes on starships. So, that's my One Big Criticism. Difficulty wise, it's a nice balance between, say, the witless grind of WoW and the unfathomable clutter of CoX. And unlike those two games – and this was a big selling point for me – the Sith truly are Evil. They're not the brutish, misunderstood Horde, and they're not a bunch of whining players afraid to get any darker than antihero. You are constantly rewarded (now, this all applies to playing Sith, of course), for being very, very bad. And penalized for the smallest acts of kindness. Though, the game world's techno stagnation still bugs me.

To me, SW:toR plays like a cross between an MMORPG and a good console game. Lots of people have complained about the frequent (interactive) cut scenes – which are present even during those flashpoints – but I like them a lot. Some of this is that the writing and voice acting are both superb, best I've ever heard by far in any MMORPG. As I said before, during these scenes, the animation can fall into the Uncanny Valley, with rubbery faces and all (not in a movie, but in a game), and I was surprised to find that good voice acting can salvage such stiff animation. Actual gameplay animation is quite good, though not as good as Rift**. I had no problems with the UI. That's something else I saw people whining about. Things do get a little complicated when you have to learn to mod equipment and such, but it's pretty intuitive, unlike, say, CoX, wherein forms of convoluted logic unknown to any sentient species are required, and unlike EVE Online, which pretty much requires of its players a Ph. D. in Engineering and Advanced Astrophysics. All in all, I found it a very intuitive game, and intuition is very important to me. I dislike manuals; I like to be able to teach myself. And while SW:toR does require you study the occasional "codex" to learn about this or that, the act of playing is, itself, intuitive. I've only played five MMORPGs, but SW:toR and Rift are, by far, the best of the five. Right now, my plan is to continue spending most of my gaming time on the latter, but to use the former for those times when I need a break from Rift. And that's about all I have to say. I feel like there are people deeply disappointed I didn't hate the game (as I'd expected to), but these are my honest impressions. I had fun. I was delighted. This is the story I've been waiting for since The Empire Strikes back, and I get to play along with it.

And remember, if you're one of the Watchers of the Unseen, tonight is RP night! Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus, check your email!

Okay. This has grown much too long, and I have email, and work, and I have to go to the bank today (gag), so the platypus says to shake a leg.

Shaking,
Aunt Beast

** By the way, MMO Crunch (www.mmocrunch.com) voted Rift "Best New MMORPG for 2011," as well as "Best Overall." WoW was a runner up.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
1. Dreams give us another reality, realities that are, more often than not, terrible or horrific or surreal. But, always, those dream realities are brilliant. The are radiant, even if they radiate darkness and seethe with violence and fear. Then we awake, and we're back here again. Here, where the world is banal, and all is shit, and there is nothing. (A thought more perfectly realized in the instant of its conception, but, like a dream, it began fading as I tried to write it down.)

2. I have been sitting here contemplating measuring the speed of time as a physical constant. If not in this worldline, then in some other. Light's easy, that c we take for granted, a simple 299,792,458 m/second, but what if time moves? How does one state the speed of time without resorting to circular reasoning?

3. Yesterday, I did only one new page on Alabaster, Page Fifteen, because I realized that I'd set the plot on the wrong pivot (so to speak – pivot, fulcrum, whatever), and the first half #3 was the last chance I'd have to set it straight in the first series, and if I didn't set it right then the wrongness would echo down through many issues to come. Writing comics, plot is one of those things that are first and foremost. When I'm writing prose, I almost always let plot worry about itself. Usually, it accretes naturally out of characterization and mood and theme, those things I prefer to write. Actually writing plot is, I find, agonizing. Like picking buckshot out of your own flesh, then putting it back in another way round, but finding that configuration just as "wrong," and starting over and over and over. Life has characters and moods and maybe even themes run through it, but it has no plot. Which is why a plan is only a list of things that never happen. Like my proposals and synopses for unwritten stories. Anyway, I'll still hit my deadline on #3.

4. Apologies for not posting the "Question @ Hand" last night. Tonight, for sure. I'm dithering.

5. Played more of SW:toR last night (though only about a third as on Saturday), and, as promised, I was going to attempt to explain my thoughts on how it might be that video games make lousy movies, but Star Wars: The Old Republic is the best Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back (1980). But, [livejournal.com profile] slothman has saved me the trouble:

When you get 3000 years away from the main setting, you can ignore 95% of the issues of continuity with the stories from the films and the vast majority of Expanded Universe fiction. That frees up the creators to tell entirely new stories, using the familiar ingredients of lightsabers and the Force and a hundred sentient species. In my opinion, the best Star Wars work takes place at least 1000 years before the films (the Knights of the Old Republic games and comics), and the second best over 100 years after (the Star Wars: Legacy comics).

Which is essentially what I was going to say.

I'm going to play again tonight, then summarize my thoughts on the beta tommorow. But I am still loving it mightily, but also allowing myself to see the blemishes. The one that bothers me the most (she jumps the gun!) is that SW:toR takes us three-thousand years into the past, roughly three-thousand years before A New Hope, and...all the technology is essentially the same. The starships, the shuttles, the weaponry, the speeder bikes, the droids, and so on. Now, this would be akin to watching technology on earth having failed to evolve significantly since, say, the Third Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt (roughly 1060-664 BC), or...well..pick another culture – China, Persia, the Mesoamericans, etc. – they all work in this analogy. Maybe, if I were a bigger Star Wars geek I'd know some bit of lore to explain the reason for this technological stagnation spanning millennia. As it is, I find the phenomenon baffling. Were the creators too lazy to fashion a genuine history for this galaxy long, long ago and far, far away? Do they fear fan backlash? It can't be that. Not after LucasArts unleashed Jar Jar fucking Binks on an unsuspecting world. Sure, later we get death stars and light sabers fall out of favour and whatnot, but nothing really changes in the course of three-thousand years.

6. I just got the news that Ken Russell has died. Truthfully, I hated almost all of his films, with the only notable exception of Whore (1991). But still...damn. As Russell said, "“Reality is a dirty word for me, I know it isn’t for most people, but I am not interested. There’s too much of it about.”

7. Part of last night was spent catching up on "television" (id est, streaming via Hulu). Very good episodes of both Fringe and American Horror Story. And I read chapters Five and Six of Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus rex before sleep, which didn't come until about four ayem. I was in bed at two, but my mind (despite a literal handful of pills) had other plans.

Here For Now,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Heavy Horses)
I better number this one. Well, after I mention an extraordinarily weird dream I had last night involving a secret society of women who were capable of accomplishing mind transference, and so, once a year, traded bodies. And I was being asked to join. But it wasn't this me, it was some other version of me. The the whole affair was far more sinister than it sounds.

1. On this day in 2001 I began keeping a "blog." I'd long kept a private, handwritten journal, and I found the whole idea of a public journal oxymoronic. You know, "public privacy." America had not yet completely decided that "transparency" in all things was such a hot idea. Well, I still haven't (in fact, I know just the opposite), but I digress. It's been ten years since Neil persuaded me to give this blogging thing a try. And...ten years later, here I am. Offhand, I can think of no other author besides Neil whose blogged longer, and he's been nowhere near as fanatical about it as I've been. I started at Blogger, then at LJ beginning in April 2004, then stopped updating to Blogger in 2006. I suspect I've made an entry for 90% of all the days since that first entry. So, wow. Sure, blogging isn't cool anymore, but who gives a shit about what the interwebs deem cool?

2. [Interlude] Jethro Tull season has begun!

3. Here I will slightly amend a bit from the entry I made on the 24th of November 2009: On this day in 1859, 152 years ago, Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life was first published (by British publishing house, John Murray). If any single book charted the course of my life, this is likely it. So, 152 years ago Darwin proposed a theory of evolution to explain the fact of evolution, and, of course, the theory is still evolving, which is the nature of science. And the creationists still don't get it. Maybe in another 152 years...well...let's not go there. My inner pessimist always wins. It's enough to marvel that so many years have passed, and we've made countless discoveries that would have dazzled, delighted, and humbled Mr. Darwin.

4. I just looked at my friends list (where fewer and fewer entries appear), and Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) has written (regarding the subjectivity of time in a narrative):

And thus, maybe a kiss deserves an entire paragraph in one circumstance... and in another, a battle no more than a sentence. It all depends on the subjective way that time dilates and contracts around your viewpoint characters.

And this is well said, but it set me to thinking – as these things always do – that subjectivity renders these sorts of observations all but useless. On the surface, I agree with the sentiment expressed here. Things get messy, though, when the author pauses to realize exactly how incredibly subjective readers' reactions are to...well...everything. What is too little detail for Reader A is too much for Reader B is just right for Reader C, or almost just right for Reader D, or...almost too much for Reader E. And so forth. There really are no happy mediums here. We can only write our voices, and what seems to suit us, and see how it all falls out in the end. That is, in my case, how many readers will feel as I do regarding detail and how long I've lingered on any given subject or event in any given scene. And, then, of course, I ignore the consensus and continue on my way.

5. Oh! Good news re: Rift. Trion appears to have responded to the outrage of many of its players as concerns the "Fae Yule" foolishness. An enormous amount of the Xmas trees, wrapped presents, and crap vanished yesterday with the latest hotfix to patch 1.6. Now, I can mostly avoid it by simply avoiding low-level areas and Meridian (the Defiant capital city) in Freemarch. Trion, it appears you done at least half good, after all. Oh, and gods, I got a glimpse (I quickly averted my eyes) of one of the Xmas themed rifts, complete with fucking snowman. To quote [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, "Sweet barking cheese." Pure cocksucking kitsch.

So, this evening, as the day winds down, this day on which we celebrate obesity and colonialism and the genocide of Native Americans, at the end of this day I can play Rift and pretty much be not be reminded of that which I wish to forget, namely the world's Xtian minority. By the way, last night Spooky and I played Indus (my Eth warrior) and Emris (her Kelari cleric) out in Stonefield. Emris is the only male character either of us plays (though, my main, Selwynn, a Kelari mage, is a strange sort of hermaphrodite). [livejournal.com profile] opalblack was with us (her Kelari rogue, Harlakai), but then suddenly vanished, and didn't reappear. Ah, but Spooky's talking to her now, so mystery solv'd.

By the way, as I wrote here (as a postscript) in 2008: Postscript: ...just in case anyone has forgotten since the last time i pointed this out, "Endeavor to be inoffensive to all who might have their feelings hurt at the drop of a hat" is not in my job description. In fact, I think it says something rather to the contrary.

6. Yesterday, I rehydrated, took it slow and steady, avoided caffeine, fought back the exhaustion, and wrote the first three pages of script for Alabaster #3. It's a good beginning. And Steve Lieber is hard at work on making my words into pictures. Cool stuff.

7. Back to the shuggoths! And later, William S. Burroughs.

Rolling along,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
I seem to be developing a new loathing for "weekends" (id est, Friday night-Sunday), and I begin to guess why.

Comments would be good today, if anyone still reads LJ on Saturday.

Today, I have to get back to writing "Sexing the Weird," which I truly need to finish by tomorrow evening. Yes, it's about sex, and the weird, and weird sex. But maybe not how you think. Or maybe exactly as you think.

The only work yesterday were a couple of last minute corrections to the galley pages of The Drowning Girl. Then we had to rush out to the UPS place at Wayland Square to be sure the thing would be back in NYC on Monday morning. Forty-two dollars and some number of cents to get it there by then.

Anyway, after that we wondered...er, wandered (though I wonder a lot) about Providence for a little while, as late afternoon faded to twilight, just watching the last remnants of the day and the last remnants of autumn. I'm beginning to realize that autumn will never cease to make me melancholy. Doesn't matter if it's beautiful, but that should be obvious to anyone who stops and thinks about it. Indeed, the beauty of autumn may lie near the heart of why it inspires a sense of melancholy in me.

We drove up to Blackstone Park, but it was too cold to walk through the woods. We'd not dressed for that much cold. We took the road that leads south (well, we were going south; the other lane leads north), between the Seekonk River and York Pond. I glanced over at the shadows darkening the still waters of the pond, and spotted a lump moving across the surface that I first mistook for a large turtle (despite the chill), but soon realized was a beaver. Oh, before Blackstone Park, we stopped in at Myopic Books, which is next door to the UPS Place. My favorite used bookstore in Rhode Island. I was good. All I got was an 1883 book on the sea, Ocean Wonders: Our Summer at the Seashore and Lakes by William E. Damon (D. Appleton & Co.; New York; the book is inscribed in a beautiful, looping hand, "Lotie H. Palmer 1884") and a much less old children's book on horseshoe crabs, The Crab That Crawled Out of the Past by Lorus and Margery Milne (1966, Atheneum; New York). Looking at these books now, I think, gods, remember when there were innumerable publishers in Manhattan. Now there are about six. To the detriment of almost all authors. Anyway, I was good, as I said, and didn't get a couple of pricey books on the evolution of birds that I also wanted.

We got dinner from Mama Kim's Korean food truck. It was parked in the usual spot, near the corner of Thayer and George. It was almost dark. Spooky went to get the food (I had three gochujang sliders), and I sat on a bench, smoking and thinking about the ancient buildings around me. The silhouette of some Brown University tower was visible to the northwest. Spooky's still sad she didn't get the little fish-shaped, sweet-bean pancakes. They seem too peculiarly reminiscent of something Xtian for my comfort.

Later, too much freaking Rift. But we were finally able to "buy" the cool cold-weather outfits at Chancel of Labors.

Later still, we watched an odd film, Daniel Myrick's The Objective (2007). It was almost pretty good. Well, it probably was pretty good. But there was this horrid voice over, which felt tacked on, whether it was added in post production or was part of the original screenplay. It seemed to exist to a) tell us the plainly obvious and b) make the film seem more like Apocalypse Now. Anyway, voice over aside, great idea and some nicely unnerving imagery, especially the final shot. Then I finished reading John Steinbeck's The Log From the Sea of Cortez, because I only had twenty pages to go, and I was determined to finish (even if it did mean staying up until almost five ayem). Wonderful, wonderful book. Then there were the dreams, some oddly, disturbingly sexy, others oddly, pleasantly disturbing, and still others just odd.

Here are a couple of photos, the The Drowning Girl (+ cat hair!) and the 1883 book:

Covers )


Oddly,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Dreams that do not bear repeating; wield spite, and bury a dream in oblivion. Besides, this is one of those days when I have too many things to write about, not too few:

1. We have just passed that "magic" moment, the eleventh second of the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh year of the Twenty-First Millennium. Of course, I would argue to anyone so feeble minded to read any significance into all those elevens, alas, they actually missed the boat back in the year 1111 A.D.

2. With an emotion gently and precariously balanced between horror and bemusement did I, this morning, read the story of how the Corporation for Travel Promotion, via JWT and The Brand Union, and armed with a budget of 200 million dollars (!!!), plan to solve all of America's PR/image ills with a campaign so stupid it sucks the air from your lungs. Hideous logo aside, the resulting slogan — the "United States of Awesome Possibilities" — almost had me squirting sugar-free Red Bull from my nostrils. Did no one stop and consider that the slogan, an abomination in its own right, can readily be rendered as the acronym U-SAP? No, of course they didn't.

3. Yesterday is a day I would rather not write about. But I will write about it, just to carve another notch into the bedstead of stupid I have experienced. The good part of the day (or at least the "goodish" part) was me writing another 1,334 words on "Ex Libris." But Kathryn is checking the galley pages for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir against our photocopy of the CEM (copy-edited manuscript), to be sure that the copy-editor's changes with which I didn't agree had not been made. And...she discovered that someone had, seemingly at random, made NEW changes to the text. Changes in wording, in punctuation, and so forth. Now, this wasn't my editor, and it couldn't have been the copy-editor, so...have you ever seen a warthog with rabies? Well, then you don't know what I was like for an hour or so yesterday. This means, you see, that every page of text, every word, every punctuation mark, has to be read over again twice (galleys against photocopy of the CEM) before the galleys go back to NYC. Recall, I said yesterday they're due back on November 15th. There was a flurry of email and phone calls. When all was said and done, 1) it had been determined that no one has any idea who made the changes or on whose authority, and 2) that it was a horrible thing that had been done to my book (like I didn't know this from the beginning), and 3) that the production manager, being the saintly sort, would extend to deadline to the 21st of November, so that Kathryn has time to read every single page over again, twice. Anyway...yeah. Bullshit. But my thanks to my agent and my editor for helping me through this mess.

Later, after the new deadline had been established, granting me and Spooky those measly four extra days, Spooky and I read through what I've written so far on "Ex Libris." By the way, Subterranean Press will be publishing "Ex Libris," together with "The Yellow Alphabet," in a hardback cloth-bound "mini-collection," The Yellow Book (yes, a nod to Chambers), which will come FREE with the limited edition of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart.

4) I may have mentioned that the ebook pirates are nipping at my heels again. Well, technically, they're nipping at the heels of my publisher. For my part, I'm ready to wash my hands of this whole ebook fiasco. Let the devil take the hindmost and all that. I just don't care anymore. NMP, because I choose for it not to be. Hey, this strategy is working just fine for the United States of Awesome Possibilities, in their approach to the country's absence of affordable healthcare, and towards the homeless, and poverty, too. So, it can work for me and ebook pirates. NMP.

5) And here we are on Veteran's Day, which I do not recognize. Instead, I continue to recognize Armistice Day, and on that note, as I do every year, I will yield the floor to the late Mr. Vonnegut:

I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one and another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.

So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.

What else is sacred? Oh, "Romeo and Juliet," for instance.

And all music is.


And So It Goes,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
I didn't forget this morning's dreams. And more's the pity. I dreamed that the Eastern Seaboard had been destroyed in a nuclear war by the Japanese (????), and I was a child in Jacksonville, Fla. and all was soot and ruin, and I watched a television broadcast of a firestorm raging across Texas. A million little details in my head.

This is why I generally hope to forget my dreams. Also, just now, right this very fucking minute, I'm having to refrain from one of those "You kids these days! Get off my lawn!" tirades, this time about how much I hate the way that the abbreviations of the states were dumbed down (i.e., simplified) back in the 1980s or when the hell ever. Florida is not FL; Florida is Fla. Massachusetts is not MA, it's Mass. Michigan is not MI, but Mich. West Virginia isn't WV, it's W. Va. Yeah, okay. I'll stop now. But I haven't lost all the battles. For example, the Girl Scouts of America, at least in the state of Colorado, are now trans friendly. I still marvel at the emerging phenomenon of transgendered children being permitted to express and explore their gender identities as children. Sure, it's still not even close to being included in this society's "normative state," but its become ever more common in the US. Kids these days...

Yesterday, we made it through chapters Five and Six of Blood Oranges. Assuming the MiBs leave me alone today, we'll get through Seven and Eight, and all that will be left to be done to the manuscript is actually making the marked corrections (there are a bazillion, so it'll take at least one long day). And since tomorrow will definitely belong to the spooks, It'll likely be Sunday before those corrections can be made.

And here we come to a note regarding Sirenia Digest. I am very, very sorry, but #71 is going to be late, and by late I mean maybe as late as the 10th of November (whereas it's "due" out on the 5th). October was a monster, and here I am with four days of it left, and I've not had a moment to put towards the digest. But it will come as soon as I can pull it together, and I apologize profusely. I'll do my best to never be this late again.

Last night, Spooky made astoundingly yummy turkey legs (toss in mushrooms, apples, onions, garlic, etc.) with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts (a cultivar of the wild cabbage, Brassica oleracea). I had a hot bath. Oh, wait. The bath was right after I made my blog entry, which means I had to wake up twice, because warmth makes me sleepy. Anyway, after dinner, Rift, and after Rift I finished reading Steinbeck's "About Ed Ricketts" to Spooky. So much is quotable, but I'll settle for one. On religion and Ricketts, Steinbeck writes:

He has no religion in the sense of creed or dogma. In fact he distrusted all formal religions, suspecting them of having been fouled with economics and power and politics. He did not believe in any God as recognized by any group or cult. Probably his God could have been expressed by the mathematical symbol for an expanding universe. Surely he did not believe in an after life in any sense other than chemical. He was suspicious of promises of an after life, believing them to be sops to our fear or hope artificially supplied.

I love those words. And now, four more stills (by [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy) from the October 15th shoot at Rolling Dam (Blackstone, MA) and Thundermist Falls (Woonsocket, RI):

Beast on Location )
greygirlbeast: (fight dinosaurs)
Last weekend, beautiful fucking weather. Sunny and bright. Highs in the low eighties Fahrenheit. You almost could have imagined it was summer. Well, for Rhode Island, I mean. This weekend? Cold, rainy, foggy, and windy. That is to say, normal Rhode Island weather (unless it's snowing). But, apparently, We are possessed of some species of determination and purpose. and the show must wobble on.

Most everyone will be arriving via the train station about noon, and Spooky's headed that way very soon. Me, I'm sitting here in my pajamas, thinking about going back to bed. I was dreaming of Boulder. Of school in Boulder. I was dreaming of a calculus class in Boulder, and even that hurt less than this.

Yesterday, someone saw fit to vent their spleen in this blog. Apparently, they were moved to do this because I fucking hate ebooks, because I hate the very idea of ebooks, and because I said so (again). My hatred of ebooks has been a matter of public record since the fucking Kindle was only a gleam in some profiteering shitheel's eye. But yesterday it seems I hit a nerve. Good for me. See, I'm fighting a losing battle against ebooks (that's a given), so I can take my meaningless little victories free of guilt. Ebooks will soon rule publishing, at least until that post-peak oil crash, when plastic will be worth its weight in paper. However, it became one of those very rare instances when I was forced to delete posts (including two of my own), and yes, forced. By decorum. I'm going to repeat what I said in yesterday's second post, in a condensed and abbreviated form, regarding what I expect from those who kindly take time to comment here:

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.


This is non-negotiable, and like everything else, not up for debate.

Oh, and yesterday—before the blog fiasco—we took a mountain of boxes to the storage unit and Spooky backed the van into a concrete wall at about twenty miles an hour. Very little damage was done. And there were publishing nuisances. And we cleaned house.

And I guess that's all for now. People will begin arriving at the Providence train station very soon, and they probably don't want to see me in my pajamas. So, dress I must. Looks like we'll be shooting at Moonstone Beach in a few hours. In the book, the scene's on a bright summer morning. So, a dreary, freezing autumn afternoon is a perfect stand-in.

Here's a question. In the Golden Age of the Ukulele Revival, why is Tiny Tim not more revered? The man was a fucking genius, and, seemingly, well ahead of his time..

Ta,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
It's Friday, so COMMENT, KITTENS.

Such vivid dreams this morning. They always are. Vivid, I mean. My brain does a good enough job of that on its own, but my prescribed pharmaceutical cocktail makes all the colors even brighter, the sounds even louder, the smells more intense. First, I was swimming in the sea. Spooky was near. A huge shadow passed beneath me, and I marveled at what had to be the silhouette of a whale shark. It passed, and when it breached, some distance away, I saw it had been a hammerhead. Shark enthusiasts will appreciate the meaning here.

And this other dream, nearer to waking, like something Colin Meloy and Victor Hugo thought up and then sent my way. A nation in class revolt. and I was a child (gender indeterminate and irrelevant), a ragamuffin urchin, maybe eight or nine, in a great throng of refugees/resistance fighters making their way across a blighted countryside, pocked with foxholes and strung with barbed-wire barricades. The group seemed a motley of British, French, American, and Russians, and our Jean Valjean was played by Brad Pitt. Period costumes, spanning several centuries, but none more recent than WWI. With the aid of a disgruntled manservant, we were able to break into an enormous manor house and immediately set about smashing this or that piece of furniture or crockery. But, no, no, no, the manservant, said. Haven't you noticed the terrible drought? (Apparently, we hadn't.) If you truly want to do them harm, empty the cisterns! Which we did, and strange cisterns they were. It never seemed to occur to anyone that, if there was this fabled drought, maybe we needed the water. And, at some point, I caught sight, through a collapsed wall, of an underground river flowing below the house, so I knew it was futile, anyway. I pointed the river out to no one else (it would have been bad for morale). Then we heard the sound of people returning, and we all had to flee. However, the only way out was the way we'd entered, which involved an elaborate sort of door. It had a grille of welded, rusty rebar, but also a heavy wooden shutter that could be raised and lowered. It had been necessary for the unnamed manservant to hold the shutter up while we squirmed in through the square spaces between the rebar (no, I don't know why he didn't just open the door for us; it's a dream). Everyone made it out, including the servant who'd chosen to join the revolt. But I had tarried, and there was no one to hold the wooden shutter up for me. The others cheered me on, frantic (but frantic from a safe distance). At last, I managed to fling the heavy grille up high enough that I had time to squirm out between the rusty rebar before the grille came slamming down again, almost decapitating me. I rushed into the arms of my mother, who wore a blue dress that was of an unmistakable late eighteenth-century vintage.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,111 (an ominous or fortuitous number, surely) words on the second piece for Sirenia Digest #70 (SUBSCIBE NOW AND RECEIVE—at no extra cost—SIRENIA DIGEST!), the one Vince will be illustrating this month. It's titled "Daughter Dear Desmodus," and involves a carnival freak show, but more I will not here say. The two-headed calf has sworn me to secrecy (there's far too much of that in my life lately).

I also answered all the email in the world. All of it. There's none left. Not even a jot.

And lest you forget, here's a reminder! Spooky's having a Premature Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries.

Last night, we played Rift (1.5, cocksuckers!), then there was some good RP in Insilico with [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, and then we started Season Three of Mad Men, and read more of The Sundial. That's enough, right?

Okay. Time to make the doughnuts. Light bulb!

Emptying the Cisterns,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Someone should really tell whatever moron/s started using "baby bump" that it sounds like a disease. Then again, we are referring to pregnancy.

---

The heat is unrelenting. Yesterday, we were essentially confined to the middle parlour and bedroom, as the temperature in my office exceeded 90F. In the "cool part of the house" the temperature reached 86F. Somehow, in the haze of heat and being too addled to get work done, we stupidly managed not to flee for to a library or some other AC-protected place. We stayed here. All day. And around 7:30 p.m., my body temp went up to 100F, and I stopped sweating, and I started slurring, and...yeah. So, I spent the whole evening cooling my body down as best I could. The fever broke quickly. The meds that make me sensitive to heat were likely responsible. At least we head out to Readercon 22**** tomorrow and get three nights of AC. Also, if you are owed an eBay package, we apologize, but it won't go out until after the convention. Monday or Tuesday. It's just been too hot to pack books and get them to the p.o.

---

A terrible, strange dream just before I woke. I lived in a house at the end of a small lagoon or inlet. I was younger, maybe a teenager. There was a thin and frightening man outside our screened-in porch (side of the house, an old house) speaking Yiddish. I called to my mother, and when he spoke to her, he spoke English with a Russian accent. There were great trees, like pecans and oaks, all around the house. Later, we went somewhere, and when we returned home, and I saw that there were men in the water "walking" dolphins, the way one does with sharks or dolphins, trying to revive them. There was a sort of turn around, and as my mother used it to point the car towards the driveway, I saw more dolphins far up above the shoreline. They were tangled in a fence, though the fence was really fishing net, and the dolphins there were actually ichthyosaurs. Thick underbrush grew all around the netting. I wanted desperately to help. I got out of the car, and, looking back at the inlet, saw that the water had become violent, a great frothing, sloshing mass, churned by the trawling nets of gigantic factory-fishing ships that hardly even fit into the tiny body of water. The snap-on heads of yellow rubber ducks were washing up onto the shore. There was a child greedily gathering them. An orca had stranded itself, and I tried to help it, but was afraid, and never went very near. In the foaming white water, orcas and sharks and dolphins and ichthyosaurs all struggled to stay clear of the nets that were pulling up great mountains of fish. And this is all I can remember.

---

My thanks to everyone who left comments yesterday regarding "triggery." Some were quite good. I was especially amused by [livejournal.com profile] lady_theadora's:

I first saw these trigger warnings when Coilhouse began to use them all the time, as you've previously mentioned, and I think they're pretty damned redundant. I mean, really, you're on the fucking internet people. You're always one click away from porn, snuff, and/or Nigerian royalty. If you haven't figured that out yet, maybe it is time you learned.

Indeed. And the thing with Coilhouse posting those warnings, it was almost enough to make me stop reading the zine; Coilhouse posting "triggering" warnings is like the Sex Pistols apologizing for...well, anything. Absurd. Anyway, yes. I have a story, which I've never told publicly, and which might be too personal and TMI and all that, but I think I need to tell it, as partial explanation, and in response to [livejournal.com profile] lm. Unfortunately, there's not room here to post [livejournal.com profile] lm's entire comment (this is going to be long, as it is), but you can see her/his full comment appended to yesterday's entry. I'm also dropping paragraphs from the quote, to save space (and I apologize for that). There are slash marks where graphs end and begin. In part, [livejournal.com profile] lm writes:

...I have definitely been in a situation where it would have been incredibly helpful to be warned about potentially "triggery" things./Namely, when my mother hanged herself several years ago, I frequently found myself watching films with unexpected scenes of someone being hanged or committing suicide. This was something I was working very hard NOT to picture or think about, and as a result, I basically stopped watching new visual media for about a year - and because my primary social outlet was a film night, this turned me into a hermit, which also really wasn't great for me at the time./I did actually search online to see if there was an online database of non-friendly-to-suicide-survivor films, but there was none./I really didn't expect any handholding through this problem, and the only time I was genuinely annoyed was when people who knew my recent history recommended movies/shows to me that ended up containing said "triggery" material...but on the other hand, I wouldn't have complained one bit if the media had contained a disclaimer!

Okay. Now, that said, here's my story:

On Christmas Eve 1995, five months after the suicide of Elizabeth, the person whom I loved most in all the world, I was alone in the carriage house (where I was living) in Athens, Georgia. I'd spent the evening writing one of the last scenes in Silk. It was an especially graphic and disturbing scene, and I finally said fuck it, I can't do this, not that night, not alone. I drove to a nearby theatre (I was still able to drive back then), and bought a ticket to the first movie on the marquee, which was the vapid Jumangi. When it was over, I still didn't want to return to that empty house, and so I bought a ticket to see the midnight screening of Heat, with Al Pacino, which turned out to be a halfway decent movie. Anyway...

Near the end of Heat, Pacino's character's daughter, played by Natalie Portman, attempts suicide by slitting her wrists in a hotel bathtub. This is precisely the way that Elizabeth had committed suicide (the big difference was that the Natalie Portman character lived). The scene was graphic and well-played and emotionally sort of devastating. Maybe not to everyone, but to me. I watched it. I didn't look away. I cried through the rest of the film. When the movie ended, I went home and went to bed.

Now, was the film "triggery"? Well, yeah. Certainly, in that it put me right there at the moment of Elizabeth's suicide and elicited an intense reaction from me. But was that something I should have avoided? Should I have been furious or resentful (or whatever) that no one warned me? Should I have complained to the theatre management and demanded my money back? Should I have posted to Usenet, warning everyone? To all these questions, my response is an unqualified "no."

Seeing the scene, being forced unexpectedly to confront it, making it real for me in a way it had not been, was the true beginning to my road to learning how to live with a pain that I knew would never, ever go away. Oh, it would dull with age, and with other relationships (though it was almost a decade afterwards before I found myself in a meaningful relationship), but I will always, always be haunted by the event. And, by the way, I'm not a suicide "survivor," because I didn't attempt suicide. I'm a bystander. I'm someone who dealt with the consequences. Maybe that's just a matter of semantics, but I feel it's an important distinction.

In the years to come, I would spend a lot of time in therapy dealing with her suicide. I would spend almost all my writing time writing about it (and I still do); suicide is a primary theme in my fiction, especially the novels. And it was by these means, by persistently and directly confronting the greatest horror in a life that had had no shortage of horrors, that I reached a place where, usually, finally, I no longer wanted to follow her. Not by flinching or avoiding or staying away. By facing the truth head-on. And I'm not an especially strong person. At least, I don't see myself that way. I did what my therapists advised, and what felt right to me, and by happenstance, beginning with accidentally seeing that scene in Heat. Oh, it fucking hurt, yeah, sure. But it was also my path to recovery.

So, my point is simple. I do not - will not - accept that we recover from the tragedies of our lives by avoiding the fact of them. We do it by confronting the fact of them, and art - in all its forms - is one path by which we can do that. I don't see this as a "your mileage may vary" thing, either. You look into the abyss, and the abyss looks into you, and you keep looking and don't dare turn away. You tell the abyss, "You can't have me yet." (to murder and bend the words of Friedrich Nietzsche) You learn to understand and cope. But you don't flinch. You don't look for warning labels so you'll be protected from the truth. You develop calluses, scars, and this changes you forever, and it makes you stronger.

Oh, and my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney for this quote from Akira Kurosawa: To be an artist means never to avert your eyes.

And this is long. And that's enough.

Not Ever Flinching,
Aunt Beast

Note: I have requested NOT to participate in an official signing at Readercon this year, so if you want stuff signed (and I'll sign as many books as you bring), I'll be signing after my reading and my How I Wrote Two Worlds and In Between solo talk. And, if you catch me in the hall, that's usually okay, too. Common sense dictates when it's not okay to ask me to sign (restroom, when I'm eating, when I'm having a conversation, when I'm rushing to get to or leave a panel, etc. - yes, all those scenarios have actually been played out).
greygirlbeast: (sol)
I realized over breakfast – a cold hard-boiled egg with black pepper and salt, accompanied by iced coffee – that I've not left the house since June 28th. I had no idea I'd hit a stretch of inadvertently going shut-in again, nor had Spooky. The last week and a half has been an utter blur of proofreading, Important Phone Calls, heat, internet porn, cat hair, other people's fireworks, Vincent D'Onofrio, car trouble, and Rift. But yeah, today will have been the tenth day, if I don't go Outside. My record is fourteen days...

My dog and fuck me, it's hot in here. 9O˚F? I don't know. I just couldn't deal with typing in the middle parlor again.

Okay, here's the tentative Table of Contents for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart: 25 Tales of Weird Romance:

Author’s Introduction: “Sexing the Weird”
“The Wolf Who Cried Girl”
“The Bed of Appetite”
“Untitled 31”
“The Collector of Bones”
“Beatification”
“Untitled Grotesque”
“Flotsam”
“Regarding Attrition and Severance”
“Rappaccini's Dragon (Murder Ballad No. 5)”
Unter den Augen des Mondes
“At the Gate of Deeper Slumber”
“The Melusine (1898)”
“Untitled 33”
“I Am the Abyss and I Am the Light”
“Dancing With the Eight of Swords”
“Murder Ballad No. 6”
“Lullaby of Partition and Reunion”
“Derma Sutra (1891)”
“The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade”
“The Belated Burial”
“The Bone's Prayer”
“A Canvas for Incoherent Arts”
“Pickman’s Other Model (1929)”
“The Peril of Liberated Objects, or the Voyeur's Seduction”
“Fish Bride”
Afterword (author TBA)

Note that "Untitled 31" and "Untitled 33" will have titles when they appear in the collection. And yeah, the ToC is subject to minor changes. This is a slightly longer collection than The Ammonite Violin & Others.

---

Yesterday, the heat had me feeling ill, and very little work was accomplished. We proofed "Untitled Grotesque," because I'd realized it would be appearing in the collection. I answered some email. I'm on two meds that increase my heat sensitivity. Last summer it was three, so I suppose I should be grateful (but to whom or what?!) that I'm down to two. I did talk to subpress about tiny design details on the Two Worlds and In Between dust-jacket. But, mostly, I lay in bed feeling vaguely nauseous. Whee!

[livejournal.com profile] sovay is supposed to be here this evening. That gives me a focal point.

Do kids these days have any idea of what a telephone operator once was?

Mostly, I need to get back to work on Blood Oranges, and I am beset by a Great Reluctance to move forward. I probably ought not say why. That would be indelicate. So, I'm sweating and spinning my wheels and wasting precious time. Oh, I slept eight hours this morning (beginning at 3:30 ayem). Yesterday morning, I dreamt of excavating an enormous (roughly 90 meter) mosasaur skull from beds of chalky marl (or marly chalk) in central Alabama. I very clearly recall the frontoparietal suture. I think it was of the genus Prognathodon. This morning, I dreamt of Alabama zoos, and subterranean passages beneath zoos that led into vast green rivers, and swimming in those rivers.

Waste is the only sin, and nothing in the world is more precious than time. Someone will tell me love is more precious, but love can be readily reduced to a matter of time.

Sorry, platypus. Not up to sweaty fur today. The dodo will console you. Wait, here's a cool thing: sunrise at Tycho (that's on the moon, yo, located in the southern lunar highlands, named after the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601).

Secluded in My Secret Lair,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (The Kiss)
Even if there hasn't yet been a (I).

Today's icon was meant to be yesterday's icon, but better late than never.

My thanks to Benjamin for sending me an excerpt from Strange Horizons and Richard Larson's review of Eclipse Four (ed. by Johnathan Strahan). I think this review is my reward for surviving the coming day, even if the reward's arrived before the actual chore. Dessert before dinner. Anyway, Larson writes:

For example, I think people will be talking about Caitlín R. Kiernan’s "Tidal Forces" for quite a while. The story is a meditation on the tragic inevitability of loss, the willing submission to unexplained forces that govern time and space, being and not being. Emily's lover, Charlotte, has been attacked by a mysterious shadow—"I can sit here all night long, composing a list of what it wasn't, and I'll never come any nearer to what it might have been" (p. 23)—and subsequently develops a steadily growing hole in her abdomen, later understood as "not merely a hole in Charlotte's skin, but a hole in the cosmos" (p. 26). Emily tries to derive a sense of linearity from what is happening by adopting a metaphor of a house of cards,

...held together by nothing more substantial than balance and friction. And the loops I'd rather make than admit to the present. Connecting dot-to-dot, from here to there, from there to here. Here being half an hour before dawn on a Saturday, the sky growing lighter by slow degrees. Here, where I’m on my knees, and Charlotte is standing naked in front of me. Here, now, when the perfectly round hole above her left hip and below her ribcage has grown from a pinprick to the size of the saucers she never uses for her coffee cups. (p. 19)

But she gets lost in the metaphor, lost in the senselessness of imminent loss, left to simply sit on the sidelines and watch Charlotte be consumed by something that might be the "inadvertent avatar of a god, or God, or a pantheon, or something so immeasurably ancient or pervasive that it may as well be divine" (p. 29). Kiernan employs a number of through lines and recurring images which deepen the narrative, opening it up to include the whole world, much as the hole in Charlotte's abdomen comes to include a "preposterous and undeniable blackness" (p. 26). Charlotte’s memory of being shot by a BB gun as a child, for example, connects a trauma from her past with this inexplicably traumatic present. And Emily's vocation as a writer affords an opportunity for her research about the Age of Exploration to comment on the very nature of storytelling: "All those overlooked islands, inaccessible plateaus in South American jungles, the sunken continents and the entrances to a hollow Earth, they were important psychological buffers against progress and certainty" (p. 18-19). The metaphor resonates directly with Emily and Charlotte's present project of explaining the unexplainable, of attaching a narrative to an experience which very well may exist outside of the realm of story, outside of the usual boundaries created by a measurable time and space. But "Tidal Forces" is at its most moving when these confrontations with the unknown are most closely aligned with the human factor, the idea of two people loving each other enough to believe anything for the other—especially if it might save her.


Nothing's gonna come close to beating that today. Anyway, yesterday – made it through two more of the stories in Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, "Murder Ballad No. 6" and "Lullaby of Partition and Reunion." Hopefully, I'll get through at least two more today, because tomorrow I have to get Sirenia Digest #67 out to subscribers, and on Wednesday, it's back to actual writing.

On this day in 1911 – one hundred years ago – my maternal grandfather, Gordon Monroe Ramey, was born. He died in 1977, when he was 65 and I was 12.

Yesterday morning, I dreamed of being in a vast grocery store shortly after some or another worldwide cataclysm. All was chaos. And there was almost nothing left on the shelves. Spooky and I were taking a few items, and I felt incredibly horrible about not paying for them. Never mind that's very unlike me, or that there was no one to pay, or that paying for stuff at The End of the World makes little or no sense (speaking of Rift, someone needs to tell the vendors at Terminus this very thing). Anyway, I meant to include that bit of dream yesterday, but forgot.

Anyway, today will be tedious and long...and hot. And more I write on this entry, the more I see myself stalling. Just gonna keep trying to smile about that review.

Did I mention it's hot here?

Staring Down the Barrel,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Lots and lots of people I know are currently at ALA. No, not Alabama. Me, I'm quite glad not to be at ALA. Not my scene, man.

I was considering an apology for the tone of my post yesterday morning. But, upon further reflection, I'm not so sure all the whining was unjustified. At any rate, my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark for be willing to go to absurd lengths to try to get me to Boston today for the shoot with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and Our Eva Canning. I finally came to my senses and realized that there was no reason on Earth I actually needed to be there, and that I'd likely just get in the way.

So...

Hey! have a look at the current round the Big Damn eBay Auction. You need a book. By me. Signed. By Me. Thanks. Auctions expire TOMORROW, and we really need to sell these books.

I wrote about a thousand words yesterday on "Sexing the Weird," the introduction for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Not sure any of it's useable, but I wrote it. I've decided that, before I proceed, I need to track down a copy of Angela's Carter's The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography (1978), which I'm pretty sure is out of print.* And, inexplicably, I don't have a copy. Oh, there was more work, with [livejournal.com profile] jacobluest on the new Sirenia Digest website yesterday.

A couple of links. First, from the CBLDF Case Files, a new atrocity, as a man attempting to enter Canada was searched by customs and is facing a minimum sentence of year in a Canadian prison and being forced to register as a sex offender. Just for having manga on his laptop. The customs officer considered it to be child pornography. The CBLDF has agreed to assist in the case by contributing funds towards the defense, which it has been estimated will cost $150,000 CDN. The CBLDF will also provide access to experts and assistance on legal strategy.

On a lighter note, here's something wonderful: a seven-year-old's paleoblog, Life Before the Dinosaurs, specializing in Precambrian and early Paleozoic life. His mom does his typing. Kid, you rock.

Here in Rhode Island, we are finally having a lovely May.

I don't know what's worse, that people ask me to read their unpublished fiction, or that they get pissy when I tell them I'd charge $20/page to read their unpublished fiction and make them sign a waiver indemnifying me from any accusations of plagiarism, ever. Even if, you know, I actually do steal their ideas. Anyway, as you can imagine, I don't do a booming business in reading other people's shit. Which is a good thing.

I slept a lot last night. I wandered through dreams of idealized cities and idealized rivers. The sorts of dreams that can only reduce waking to regret.

Now...I'm sure there's something I have to type. While I sit in this chair. At this desk.

Not a Nice Person,
Aunt Beast

* Actually, it's still in print. The subtitle was changed to An Exercise in Cultural History. Which, you know, won't offend the prudes, the very people Carter was...oh, never mind.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
And today is the birthday of Spooky! And, therefore, I am only attending to a small bit of work and having most of the day off (though, having slept almost until noon, as I didn't get to sleep until 4:30 ayem, that's not as much of a threat as it might seem).

Here in Rhode Island, we're having a marvelous March. High today, 67˚F.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,554 words, beginning and completing "Down to Gehenna," the new piece for Sirenia Digest. It will be appearing, long with Chapter One of Blood Oranges, in #67.

Also, yesterday, I spoke with my agent and editor regarding The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and with my agent regarding Blood Oranges. She's reading the first half of the manuscript this weekend. And, very late, I spoke with Bill Schafer (of Subterranean Press) about Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, and told him he'd be receiving the initial manuscript sometime in the next few weeks.

I've not been Outside for three days, not since Tuesday, which is a little unusual for me of late. But I blame this shitty weather, the cold and the wet.

This morning I had a very vivid dream. I was having my face tattooed. I have no memory whatsoever of what the tattoos actually were.

Last night, well, that's fairly predictable, isn't it? There was Rift. We finally got a guild vault, thank Tavril. And I'm slowly, slowly, inching my way towards the level cap at 50. Then I'll start leveling Shaharrazad (my Bahmi warrior). Oh, but before that, because it was almost Spooky birthday, we watched Pixar's Ratatouille (2007) again, because it's a favorite of hers (and of mine, too). After Rift, we read more of Junky, and that was yesterday.

Now, I go to handle a few things that cannot be put off, and then I bake Spooky a cake.
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
Outside, it's 80F and feels like 81F. Inside, 80F. Balance, kiddos.

The last thing I recall saying before I fell asleep this morning is, "Only a dyke would have a crush on Charlie Brown." This is, in fact, a reference to Peppermint Patty. Let's just say I was very tired. Though, that's often when I speak the truth.

This morning, I dreamed I was in some weird sequel to Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space." Pretty much all detail is lost to me, but I can assure you it was not the least bit pleasant. The sense of uncleanliness, that it was unsafe to touch, drink, or eat anything, or even to breathe. It reminds me how "The Colour Out of Space" is a perfect parable for environmental degradation.

Yesterday was spent editing Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and the first four chapters Blood Oranges, finding as many errors in the latter as possible and correcting them. This afternoon, it goes to my agent. Booya. I now know that I'll write an introduction for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart called "Sexing the Weird." I'm going to ask another author to write an afterword, and I hope to include a lot of illustrations by Vince Locke

Couldn't sleep last night. When I can't sleep, neither can Spooky. So our insomnias align. She read me the first three sections of William Burroughs' Junky (which I've not read since the summer of 1994). Then she turned off the light, about 4:30 ayem. The sky had grown very bright, there on that shortest darkness of the year. I sat at the kitchen table eating leftover pasta salad and watching the dawn. Finally, the pills kicked in, and I crawled away to bed and sleep.

Happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] faustfatale!

Our thanks to Stephen Lubold for the latest care package: Brown Bird's EP "The Sound of Ghosts," and three books: Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and the first two volumes of Mike Raicht and Brian Smith's amazing The Stuff of Legend. As it happens, he also won yesterday's ARC auction.

Good Rifting and rping last night. Thanks to everyone! The guild grows.

And yes, it's Soltice, Midsummer, Lithia, Litha. It is a day that Kathryn and I observe. If you do likewise, I wish you a happy Litha. I won't say blessed. Not sure I believe much in blessings, and even if I did, I would be unable to bestow them. The wheel turns. The shortest night, tonight.

We'll go to this evening to observe the day. We've talked about staying at the shore all night, maybe watching the sunrise over Narragansett Bay. But first I have a lot of work to do.

Comments, kittens!

Traveling the Circumference,
Aunt Beast

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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