greygirlbeast: (white)
I don't think I have anything in me today worthy of an actual entry, than to note The Day, and perhaps a couple of other minor this or that.

Yesterday, as regards those who are too cool for school, and who, on general principle, cannot possibly enjoy a film like Cowboys and Aliens, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack wrote:

Everyone's too Hip and Cool to enjoy fun any more. It's like the whole world is an uptight teenager trying to impress everyone with how grown up it is, by smoking behind the toilets, looking bored, and mocking everything. Balls to that. I invoke The Law Of Awesome in this place, none of that bullshit here, thank you.

Indeed. Though, the word awesome, overused to a state of wearisome threadbareness, is beginning to grate.

And yes, I came to westerns very early in my life, and I've loved them ever since.

As for that "variant" spelling of Siobhan, it was a typo (which may appear throughout the manuscript, I don't know), though there are very many variants of the name, which is the feminized version of the Gaelic appropriation of John.

Also, I'm discovering I hate MMORPG culture. A lot of immature, ignorant, dick-measuring, pigheaded motherfuckers.

And.

Today marks the sixteenth anniversary of Elizabeth's suicide. She would be 40.

And there's this, which is a song we shared, and which she loved, in a time and place that is gone.

I still have this.

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: (Bowie3)
Okay, what the fuck is up with the LJ banner today? Is this a reference to the Rapture flap?

No sleep until after six ayem, so fuck you, Mr. Insomnia. I was in bed at 2 a.m., to no avail, and this is what I get for trying to sleep without pharmaceutical backup.

Yesterday's first day of quasi-vacation bore no resemblance at all to an actual day of quasi-vacation. Which is to say work stuff kept me at the desk most of the day. Oh, and I installed Adobe Photoshop Elements on my iMac. Adobe Photoshop Elements has to have the most idiotic installation disk ever.

It's almost warm out there today.

Still no word from my agent. I think the "warning label" might be at the root of the quiet.

Last night we saw David O. Russell's very impressive The Fighter. And read Under the Poppy. And played Rift. And why the fuck is my left ear ringing?

And there was The Dream this morning, and that's enough for now.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Elizabeth would have been forty today. I can hardly even begin to wrap my head around the weirdness of that fact.

1) Bear with me. I'm more awake that yesterday, and not in half as much pain, but this is still gonna be a bumpy ride.

2) Yesterday, I wrote 1,533 words on "—30—", which I'm liking, and which I think Spooky is liking more than I do. It will appear in Sirenia Digest #61. A reminder to subscribers (if you were one, I could be reminding you, as well) that the digest now goes out on the fifth day of the month. So, expect #61 on January 5th.

3) Some time back— like a year or two or something, I don't know exactly —I began making a concerted effort not to reply to the idiotic things that idiots are apt to say online during or after reading one of my books. And, mostly, I've made good on that. Not because I think it's wrong or unseemly for an author to reply to her critics, but just because it gets fucking tiresome, for me and for the people reading this blog (I don't know who convinced so many writers they shouldn't ever reply to their critics, but it's a bit of conventional wisdom that baffles me, and I suspect a reviewer is to blame). Just two days ago I complained about Mr./Mrs./Miss Threw In An Ending over on Amazon. Which ought to be my quota for the month.

But no. From Goodreads, via Twitter, another gem was brought to my attention this morning. Someone who's reading Daughter of Hounds. I won't give her name, but I will note she is a she. It's relevant:

Not liking the angry woman in the story; angry women are not cool.

I shit you not. How does one even reply to anything so utterly, perniciously...wrongheaded? Seriously, I have no idea what to say in response. Everything I think of seems too obvious. Some statements are so perfectly, sublimely stupid— and prima facie so —that they successfully resist any articulate rebuttal.

4) Last night was meatloaf (Spooky does amazing things with meatloaf), and we watched the end of Season Six of Deadliest Catch, and played WoW, and I had a hot bath, and we started Holly Black's Ironside.

5) One year ago today, I asked the readers of this blog a question: If you had me alone, locked up in your house, for twenty-four hours and I had to do whatever you wanted me to, what would you have me/you/us do? The answers were screened, to encourage explicit, honest, imaginative responses, and I promised I'd include the answers I liked best in an upcoming issue of the digest. And there were some very good replies, but, for some reason, I didn't keep my promise. I think it's time that I did so, and the best of the lot will be appearing in #61.

Yours in Anger,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Today is the fifteenth anniversary of Elizabeth's suicide. She would be almost forty, had she lived. Yeah, it's a grim way to begin an entry, but it was a grim way to begin a day, and to go to bed last night, and I at least try to tell the truth here. It seems impossible, utterly impossible, that time can have swallowed so much distance between me and that day in 1995. Between me and her. But it has. And I have gone on to have this life. I spent seven years or so doing very little but grieving. And then I found Kathryn, and I began to heal. There will always be a hole where Elizabeth once was. But life continues. Until it doesn't anymore.

---

Yesterday was a good day off. Even if it did begin by having to take Spooky's laptop to the Geek Squad at Best Buy in Warwick (and, so, having to delay a visit by [livejournal.com profile] sovay). It'll be two weeks before she gets it back. Neither of us are happy about that, but there you go. Anyway, we figured that as long as we'd driven to Warwick, we might as well drive on to South County. First, we stopped by Spooky's parents' place. Her dad was out, but her mom was home. We picked apples. We missed picking the blueberries this year. Spooky's mother also gave us yellow tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, blueberries, and eggs. Vegetables fresh from the garden, apples fresh from the trees, blueberries fresh from the bushes, and eggs fresh from the butts of the chickens. We visited with Spider the Enormous Cat.

And then we headed farther south, to Moonstone Beach. As I was getting out of the van, four swans (Cygnus sp.) flew by low overhead, honking loudly. I'd never seen flying swans up close before. They were amazing. We walked over the dunes to the beach. There were a few people, but not so many we couldn't find a quiet spot. I sat and watched the waves, wrote in my notebook, and took a few photos. The sun was still high and hot, but the wind was chilly. Spooky spotted an osprey in among the gulls and cormorants, and saw it swoop down to snatch a fish from the sea. About six p.m., we walked back to the van, and headed to Narragansett for dinner.

Unfortunately, there were so many tourists crowding Iggy's, that we had to settle for George's, over in Galilee. Still not bad. We ate fish sandwiches and watched the Block Island Ferry coming and going. Then we headed back to Spooky's parents, to pick up our produce and eggs (which we'd not taken with us to the beach, because we didn't have the cooler). Her dad was home. I wanted to stay the night, there in the cool and quiet, among the trees and chirping insects. But we'd left my meds at home, so back we drove. It must have been close to nine p.m. by the time we got home.

There are photos below, behind the cut.

I had some good rp in Insilico (thank you, Joah), while Spooky painted. Later, we watched three more eps from Season Two of Nip/Tuck. Before bed, I started reading "Madonna Littoralis." I pretty much never read my own stuff after it's in print. But I've been reading The Ammonite Violin & Others (which is now officially almost sold out, by the way), and enjoying it. It's good to see a book in print, and have so few regrets.

And that was yesterday. I get one more day off, today, and then it's back to the word mines. This afternoon, I'll finish a painting, wash my hair, do a little house cleaning, stuff like that.

Please have a look at the eBay auctions. Thanks.

Here are the photos from yesterday:

2 August 2010 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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