greygirlbeast: (walter3)
I'm sitting here composing, in my head, a Tom Waits song that Tom Waits will never compose, much less record. But it's about not sending "wish you were here" postcards to nightmares.

Someone said something. I won't say who or where the comment was made. The "You're a horror writer" thing. No, I'm not. But. If you insist, maybe it's simply that my definition of "horror" and yours are so vastly different that we possess incommensurable worldviews and can't actually communicate on the subject in any mutually intelligible way (by the way, if you grew up without phonetics/phonics, you're screwed; then again, I guess that's why we have "l33t," "texting," and online dictionaries).

Why no, I'm not in a good mood. Not at all. Not after those dream worlds. And given the fact that there's no way for me to conclusively demonstrate to myself that they're any less objectively "real" than this waking world wherein I'm typing this LJ entry (never mind the world wherein you're reading it; I'll not open that can of worms). Still, this mood has to be bent far enough in that direction that I can get "Sexing the Weird" finished today. I have to be productive. No option, even if there's a hypothetical option.

Problem is, I have this thing I thought would take me two days to write, and today will be day four...I think. I spent yesterday navigating my way through the original and expurgated texts of The Picture of Dorian Gray, and then it was Machen's "The Great God Pan," and finally that got me to the central focus of Part One of the introduction, which is simply that Lovecraft wrote a LOT about fucking. I began with "The Dunwich Horror," a lamentably silly, sprawling tale that I sincerely wish were not thought of as one of HPL's best. But, nonetheless, it is a tale of interspecies and interdimensional sex, and therefore serves my purposes. Today, onward. The thesis statement is remarkably simple: sex (and especially "deviant" sex) has often been at the heart of weird fiction, all the way back to the Gothics. Though...I only go as far back Le Fanu, and if anyone wants to go farther back, well...the path is marked. And yeah, I see the repetitive nature of two of those sentences. Let's pretend I did it on purpose.


Today is the 13th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. The whole thing is explained here, for those who need an explanation. I'd like to think that no one does need an explanation. Transgender people live with the constant threat of physical and psychological violence, and even death, every single hour of our lives. No matter who you become, that threat, and the fear it engenders, never goes away. Even when you might actually be genuinely safe. Because too many times you haven't been, and you know what might happen if you're not careful and can't figure out how to cheat all the immutable pink and blue rules of a cisgendered world (and you can't). Me, I have about a hundred tales. Someday, maybe I'll tell one of the closest calls I ever had, which concerns three drunken Athens, GA frat boys bearing down on me as I gripped a can of pepper spray. Playing chicken with hate, as it were. No one can count the dead, but we can remember a few who must serve, in these grim mathematics, as the symbols for an unknown (and unknowable) number.


Last night a new episode of Fringe, "And Those We Leave Behind," and it was so good I cannot imagine how this series is still on the air. It just keeps going to stranger places. We all do this at our own risk, going weird places, if we expect anyone to follow. And storytellers tend to have to wish for followers. Elsewise, we're only talking to ourselves. Not that there's anything wrong with talking to ourselves. Me to myself. You to yourself. Unless you need to make a living telling stories (an awful, awful situation). Anyway, a fine episode, and I think they finally made me care about Peter Bishop, who has almost always felt like a great slab of nothing interesting. I just hope that the series either a) wraps things up this season or b) doesn't lose it's following and is permitted another season. Were it me, I'd have taken this season to end the story, especially considering how this season almost didn't happen.

The platypus shakes the word basket, and I reach inside, hoping this isn't one of those days the platypus is being cute and has slipped in a few razorblades just for shits and giggles.

Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Rain today, and the temperature is, presently, only 71F. My office (which still has residual heat from yesterday) is almost bearable. Sure, I'm sweating, but the sweat's not so prodigious that it's dripping onto my keyboard.

No work yesterday, except I had a first glance through the PDF for Two Worlds and In Between, and everything, at first glance, looks shiny, Captain. Mostly, Spooky and I hid in the dark bedroom, the coolest place we could find (temp in the coolest part of the apt. yesterday peaked at 84˚F), and watched episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent until it was time to go to the market, and then pick [ profile] sovay up from the train station.

So, yeah, at least I left the house. Small victories. We got takeout from the Palestinian place. And then just talked. We sat up until about four, talking.

For rain it hath a friendly sound...

Sonya made me write down stray lines, because, of course, I'd not recall them this morning. This seemed to be a favorite:

"He called himself a landscaper, but he just moved manure around."

Oh, and "South of articulate, and moving towards something."

Much of the conversation centered on the nature of my erotica, and the meaning of words like obscene and pornographic. I like wicked best. Sonya finally pronounced that it's an eroticism of metamorphosis. Which seemed unnecessarily forgiving (she just said, "That's your residual Christianity talking"). Oh, we also talked about the genius of Terrence Malick, and about books that do not deserve exorbitant advances, and about body modification.

My thanks to everyone who had kind words for Chapter One of Blood Oranges yesterday – and "Down to Gehenna," also. If all goes well, and my resolve holds, I'll be back to work on the book tomorrow, and will try to finish Chapter Five in five days.

Anyway, I should go now. I think we're going to read back over Chapter Four, and pick up last night's conversation where dawn so rudely interrupted us.

Godspeed, Atlantis.

Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I need to just stop making plans. I mean completely. I need to quit making plans altogether.

I should be in Boston right this very minute, with [ profile] kylecassidy and Co., but I'm not. I'm home. Sitting in my stupid chair at this stupid fucking desk, typing on this stupid fucking keyboard. Because the car's acting fucking sketchy again (bad crankshaft). Kyle just called. He'll be meeting up with our Eva Canning this afternoon (as played by Sara Murphy)*, scouting locations and getting test shots for our sort of Secret Drowning Girl project. Oh, and Neil even went to the trouble to get us on the guest list for Amanda's show at the Mill I'm. Sitting. Here. Maybe I'll go back to bed and be done with it.

Tiddly pom.

Oh, and, here in Rhode Island, we're still having a wonderful March.

Anyway...yesterday, we had a very fine birthday for Spooky. I even made her the World's Most Strawberry Cake Ever. Maybe too strawberry. But it was appreciated. By Spooky, I mean. She spent most of the day playing American McGee's Alice: The Madness Continues, I think. There are photos below, behind the cut.

All the work part of my day yesterday was taken up getting material to [ profile] jacobluest for the new Sirenia Digest website (which is looking amazing). I did that, but nothing much else. I did read a couple of stories in Supernatural Noir, Melanie Tem's "Little Shit" and Brian Evanson's "The Absent Eye." I played Rift. Selwyn made Level 50 and capped. Yes, this is the breathtaking excitement of my life. Maybe I just have everything backwards. Maybe it's a problem of perspective. In this Post-Modern Age, perhaps it is the digital experiences we ought to cheer as "genuine," and not those troublesome and inconvenient analog ones.

Looking at it all fucking backwards.

Here are the photos from yesterday:

24 June 201 )

And yeah, Peter Falk died. Which I think I'm just having trouble processing. Is that a computer analogy? Having trouble processing? If so, fuck it. Anyway, I grew up in the seventies, with Columbo, but I try not to think of Falk as that character, because too few people remember that he was a very good actor. For example, his role as "Der Filmstar" in Wim Wenders' Der Himmel über Berlin (1987). Here's a clip I love:

But on the brighter side, gay marriage is now legal in New York. So, we have New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. But I don't think it'll ever happen in Rhode Island. Too many goddamn Catholics.


Last night, we watched a genuinely exquisitely creepy film, Brad Anderson's The Vanishing on 7th Street (2010). Anderson also made such superb films as Session 9 (2001), The Machinist (2004), Transsiberian (2008), and also directed ten episodes of Fringe. Right now, The Vanishing on 7th Street is streamable from Netflix, and you really, really ought to see it. Cosmic horror wonderfully translated to film. Man's fear of the dark and the dissolution of self. An apocalypse of darkness and aloneness. Beautiful.

And now I should go. Sit in the chair. At this desk. Maybe I'll try to write the introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012), which will be called "Sexing the Weird." HPL and sex. My own refusal to be apologetic for the seemingly explicitly brutal nature of so much of my erotica, etc. One woman's pain is another's pleasures and affections.

* Turns out Sara hurt her arm at an audition at an audition, and I may have another chance to make it to Boston tomorrow. By the way, that came out wrong. Don't mean to imply I might benefit from Sara hurting her arm.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
I did something this morning that I almost never do. I got up when Spooky did, then went back to bed. And, all in all, slept about eight hours, which is about the most I ever get. So, booyah.

Last night, I posted the New Question, the Question @ Hand, and you can read it and respond here. If you were to make of me— of my actual, physical body —a work of art, what would it be? Answers are screened, so only I can see them. I'll select the ones I like best for Sirenia Digest #63, where they will appear anonymously. There have already been two answers so delightful that I wanted to hug them. Hug the answers, I mean. Though, so far, all the usual suspects have been silent. Anyway, I'll be collecting the replies over the next week and a half or so. Haven fun with it. No minimum or maximum word length. And as I said last night, don't be shy. Get our hands dirty.

And here are the current eBay auctions.

I didn't leave the house yesterday.

There was good news from Dark Horse, which I'll talk about as soon as I am told that I may.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,623 words on the eighth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. A passage from Joseph Campbell (1970), writing on schizophrenia, is very apt: "The whole problem, it would seem, is somehow to go through it, even time and again, without shipwreck: the answer being not that one should not be permitted to go crazy; but that one should have been taught something already of the scenery to be entered and the powers to be met, given a formula of some kind by which to recognize, subdue them, and incorporate their energies." I've passed the 75,000 word mark— by more than a thousand, actually. After writing, we proofed "The Road of Pins" for Two Worlds and In Between.

Last night we spent a little time leveling our dead girls, Erszébetta and Tzilla. Then we finished reading Grace Krilonovich's The Orange Eats Creeps. I'm going to be processing this novel for quite a while. It resists any quick and easy assessment. But my first thought would be that I've encountered a shattered mind, that finally becomes incoherent, as madness increasingly refashions the world in the mad woman's image (unless it's the other way round), and I refer you back to the Joseph Campbell quote above. It's a very good novel, though it may not be at all what you'll expect going in, if all you expect is some weird shit about punk rock hobo junkie vampires drinking Robitussin and riding box cars around the Pacific Northwest. It sheds that skin fairly quickly, and moves into infinitely weirder, darker territories.

Yesterday, on a whim, I decided to snap a series of photos taken from my desk, from the chair where I spend most of most every day and night. I decided it wouldn't matter whether or not the photographs were good photographs, but they had to be taken from my chair. I ended up with thirteen, behind the cut (and don't forget to have a go at the question @ hand). I make no apologies for dust and clutter:

A Sessile Organism Views the World, 10 February 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
So, the last two issues of Sirenia Digest have featured articles built around answers readers of this blog has written in response to questions I post early in 2010. And sorting through the answers had been so much fun, I want to post a third question:

If you were to make of me— of my actual, physical body —a work of art, what would it be?

Absolutely no answer can be too outlandish, too grim, too disturbing, too violent, too erotic, too personal, too whatever. Get your hands dirty. And mine, as well. Feel free to employ any imaginable medium, even fictional ones. No minimum or maximum word limit; write as much or as little as you wish. The answers I like best will appear in Sirenia Digest #63.

Same rules apply as with the questions last year: All comments are screened.* That means, no one but me can read them. That's an extra incentive for you to leave the inhibitions behind. Only I will read these. The answers that are selected for the digest will appear without their authors' names attached, so there's complete anonymity from everyone but me. Have fun!

* If you're reading this via Facebook, obviously I cannot screen your comments, unless you post them to LJ. However, I will be taking private messages through Facebook.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Here in Providence, the days have turned oddly cool, dry, sunny. There's rain on the way tomorrow, and still cooler temperatures. Summer seems to have been waylaid.

I can tell, already, this is going to be a meandersome entry, so please bear with me. I've a meandersome mind lately.

Only a little writing yesterday. On Sunday, I discovered a book I very much need to read before I begin "The Maltese Unicorn" (Polly Adler's A House is Not a Home, 1953), but we're having to get it through interlibrary loan, which will take a week or so. And I decided to make the best of the delay by writing something for Sirenia Digest #54. Monday was spent looking for that vignette, which I found partway through the day. I made a hesitant beginning to "Eurotophobia" (don't ask; that's why Larry Page and Sergey Brin invented Google). Then, last night, after my Frank Frazetta post, someone suggested I might write a vignette based upon one of Frazetta's paintings. I will admit, the idea appeals to me. I'd already planned to dedicated the issue to him. So, I'm thinking that I may shelve "Eurotophobia," and, while I'm waiting for the Polly Adler book, write a vignette based on this painting:

Frazetta titled it "Tempest Witch," but I can find no date, so I don't know when it was painted. It seems no one does. Likely, I will simply name the vignette "Tempest Witch."

There are new auctions underway, including some stuff we've not offered in a while, and of which we only have a few copies remaining.


There are birthdays coming up. On May 26th, I'll be -6, which is truly more than I care to consider. I've asked Spooky for a quiet day at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology in Cambridge and dinner with friends. And that's all I'm asking for. However, on June 24th, Spooky will be turning the big -0. And I'd like to get her a PS3, which she's only been wanting since 2006. But funds are low right now, between this, that, the other, and my new meds. So, I have devised a plan. I'm going to write a new poem, the first I've written since February 2007. I will be printing fifteen copies of it (on a nice high-grade paper), which I will sign and number. Each person who donates $25 towards the Spooky Birthday Present Fund will receive a copy of the poem, which will probably never see publication in my lifetime. That's a fair trade, yeah, and for a good cause. So, if you'd like to help out, here's the PayPal button:

Button removed by CRK

The signed copies of the poem will go out to donors at the end of June, and Spooky will be very, very grateful. That I will be grateful goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. Thanks.


Last night, in memory of Frazetta, we spent three hours doing battlefields in WoW. Well, Alterac Valley over and over and over...and over...again. Not sure whether or not Frazetta would have approved, but there was blood, swords, barbarians, mammoths, black magic, dinosaurs, and warrior women, so it seemed fitting to me. Later, we read more of Patti Smith's Just Kids. We're almost finished with the book, which is far too short. That's not a criticism. More like praise. I wish there were more of it.

Smith notes how Cocteau once said of a Jean Genet poem, "His obscenity is never obscene." It struck a nerve. Since Frog Toes and Tentacles and the beginning of Sirenia Digest so much of my work has been one or another flavour of obscene. I'm imagination's whore. I'd like to think my obscenities are never obscene, but I honestly do not know. Spooky says I'm never lewd. I don't have that sort of perspective. I see a line so fine as to be all but invisible, and I lose myself in semantics.
greygirlbeast: (Trilobite)
I went straight into writing this morning, rather than pause to do a blog entry, so now I'm playing catchup. I did edit a bunch of photos from yesterday, edit them this morning, I mean, and I'll get to those.

Yesterday, I did 1,035 words on "A Paleozoic Dreamquest." Today I did another 1,452, and found THE END of the vignette. So, everything (except the prolegomena) has been written for Sirenia Digest #45, though I still have a bit of editing to do. Oh, and as promised, here's the "trilobite pr0n" illustration that Vince Locke sent, upon which I based "A Paleozoic Dreamquest." Pretty literally, I might add. I love when we reverse the process, and I get to write for what he's already drawn:

It's been a rainy, cool day here in Providence, as Danny approaches.

After work yesterday, we headed to Moonstone Beach, as we'd wanted to get some post-Hurricane Bill beachcombing in. But as we were walking from the van, along the sandy trail that leads between Trustom and Cards ponds and out to the shore, we came upon a female Double-Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus). Clearly, there was something wrong with it, as they never allow us to approach so close. Of all Rhode Isalnd's sea birds, the cormorants are my favorite, and it was wonderful to be able to get so near to one, but alarming, too, as we realized it was either sick or injured (even though no injury was visible). I sat down on the bridge near it, and a few minutes later, a man came along who'd already called the Department of Environmental Management about the cormorant. We talked about the threat posed to her by coyotes, raccoons, minks, and other local predators. But thinking that help was on the way, we headed along to the beach.

The storm had moved the sand about quite a bit, and there were more cobbles and pebbles than usual. There were shattered spider crabs, sponges, horseshoe crabs, and a few unusual varieties of snail. The air was so clear that Block island seemed close enough to touch, though it lies ten miles to the south, across the sound. As the sun was setting, we headed back to the van, and found the ailing cormorant had not moved from its perch on the stone wall. However, it had been joined by a male, presumably its mate. Not wanting to leave before the DEM showed up (assuming the would show), we waited a bit. Spooky got some video of the birds, and I sat near them on the bridge. Before long, the man who'd called the DEM returned, with a cat carrier and heavy gloves, and we helped him bundle the female cormorant into a towel (she offered no resistance) so that he could get her to a local wildlife rescue vet. The male dove into the salt marsh, and swam away. It was almost dark when we finally left. I spent most of the night worrying about the cormorant, and have no idea what has become of her. I suppose I never will.

I should definitely write these things in the morning, when I'm not too exhausted from fiction writing to do them justice.

If you've not had a look at the current round of eBay auctions, please do, and thanks.

And here are the photos from yesterday evening:

27 August 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
A cool night last night. We slept with the windows closed. A cool day today. I could even have my coffee hot. Tropical Storm Danny has us in his sights.

By the way...I was under the impression that TS/Hurricane names were only used once. Yet, there was a Hurricane Danny in July 1997. Played merry havoc with the Gulf of Mexico.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,035 words and finally finished "Werewolf Smile." The piece started as an idea (conceived in the Peace Dale Public Library on August 20th), intended to be a 2,000-word vignette. But, by the time I reached THE END, it had grown into a 7,435 word short story. So, that's a little something extra for Sirenia Digest subscribers this month. Today, I'll be starting a second piece for #45, based on an illustration by Vince Locke (I'll post the illustration tomorrow), but I think we're talking trilobite sex. Regardless, this second piece has to be short, the vignette I mean it to be. My intentions have to count for something, as I'm very, very short on time.

Regardless, I'm glad to be done with "Werewolf Smile," as it was taking me someplace darker than even I am generally comfortable going. Then again, that might sound like hype, and truthfully, all this shit's subjective. Darkness is like eroticism, in its penchant for subjectivity. What you find painfully dark (or unbearably sexy), might have no effect on me. What takes me to the edge, might well leave you cold.

Please have a look at the latest round of eBay auctions. Bid if you are so able and inclined. Thank you. We tend to offer the hard-to-find books more cheaply than you will find them elsewhere.

No work on the website last night. I was just too tired after finishing the story. Maybe tonight.

Also, if you've not yet picked up a copy of The Red Tree, please do so, whether it's from Amazon or some other source. Every sale counts. Also, I'll repost the link to the recent Subterranean Press interview, which is mostly concerned with The Red Tree.
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
I seem to be unable to wake up today. I blame the Vitamin D from all that unexpected sunlight yesterday evening.

Yesterday, I did 1,123 words on "The Sea Troll's Daughter," which I think I'm almost halfway through. Or maybe a little less than almost halfway. Thereabouts. It's a very different piece for me. The closest I've ever come to doing this sort of "sword and sorcery" fantasy is the Beowulf novelization. Spooky's ([ profile] humglum) liking it, and Sonya ([ profile] sovay) is liking it, and that's usually a good sign. I've not shown it to anyone else yet.

I spoke with Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press this morning, before I was quite awake. So there's no telling what I said. I have been told that I can announce (drum roll, please) that subpress will be doing my next short-fiction collection, The Ammonite Violin and Others, which will include an introduction by Jeff VanderMeer, and which will be a 2010 release. We also talked about Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, the third (and final) erotica collection, which I think is still planned for 2010, and about The Dinosaurs of Mars, which is, alas, still anybody's guess.

My thanks to everyone who's taken part in the latest round of eBay auctions. Spooky will be listing new items sometime this afternoon.

As I said (or did I?), the sun came out late yesterday afternoon, and that's the only thing that finally got me moving, that got the words flowing. After work, we drove down to Warwick and picked up Spooky's belated birthday present, a new turntable so that she can begin digitizing the squillion or so pieces of vinyl she has stored at her parents. The drive was good, getting out of the House, and seeing the sun and blue sky after all these days without either. It's sunnyish today, though I think thunderstorms are inbound.

Watch for today's micro-excerpt tweet from The Red Tree, over at greygirlbeast

So, yeah. Time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Almost eight hours sleep last night. Which is grand, except it permits more time for the nightmares to unfold.

I did 1,063 words on "Galápagos" yesterday, and it seems to be starting off fairly well. I'm forcing myself to write at a much slower pace than I've become accustomed to lately. In part, I have no choice (and that's a good thing), as it's offworld sf, and I'm constantly having to check this fact or that calculation. Also, I spoke with the anthology's editor yesterday, because I wanted to know how much leeway I have regarding erotic content in the story. That is, how erotic can the story be? Only a little, it turns out, which isn't so bad, as it will force me to rely on subtler, more indirect techniques to communicate a number of inherently sexual elements in "Galápagos."

The panic I wrote about a couple of days ago has backed off enough that I can work, thank fuck.

Not much else to say about yesterday. Leftover chili for dinner. We watched a few episodes from Season Five of Angel, to wind down from our three- or four-month long Buffython. We're going to begin The X-Files again next week. Later there was a little WoW. Shaharrazad and Suraa were finally able to journey to the Isle of Quel'Danas, off the northernmost shores of the Eastern Kingdoms. Of course, the Scryers and the Aldor from Shattrath are trying to take the island back from Kael'thas Sunstrider, and it's weird to see blood elves and Draenei working together (Shah and Suraa are allied with the Scryers). After WoW, I goofed about with my Facebook page, because no one else had bothered to create a "Favorite Basal Thyreophoran" list thingy or upload the requisite images. Got to bed sometime after two a.m.
greygirlbeast: (chi2)
Exquisite bits from 1st Avenue Machine, with Sirenia Digest subscribers in mind. Yes, they are car commercials. You're welcome.

greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
I slept almost eight hours, but feel like I have a hangover. So, all I can figure is that I dreamt of an absinthe binge.

More editorial slogging yesterday. But it is very, very nearly over. An amazingly productive day yesterday, really. Countless typos and continuity errors were corrected. A couple of new scenes were added. The Red Tree is nearing its final countenance. I meant, yesterday, to speak on the horror of sticky notes. When this began, the manuscript was festooned with 2"x1.5" sticky notes. Yellow ones. Neon yellow ones. On Tuesday, we spent fours hours dealing with fifteen sticky notes. Yesterday, the last ones were vanquished. No more sticky notes. At least not until the CEM (copyedited ms.) arrives, and hopefully that won't be until early April. I think that I'm feeling better about The Red Tree again. It really is, by far, my best novel yet. If you ask me, and I'll note that you didn't.

I can't seem to decide what The Red Tree is actually about. It might be a dark fantasy about a malevolent oak that hides an entrance to the underworld of the ghouls. And it might be a novel about insanity. And it might be a study of unreliable narrators and the inherent weaknesses of first-person narrations. It could be a discourse on the nature of secret histories. Likely, it's all those things.

Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press has given me the green light to announce that the third erotica collection, Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, will be released sometime early in 2010.

No, that's not the secret project. I'll get to that as soon as I can.

I got an email from Ted Naifeh yesterday and it's been a while since we talked, so that was cool. He's still doing things that delight me. I also got word yesterday that I am still scheduled to be a Guest of Honor at this year's Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland. I can't remember the dates. October, I think. That and ReaderCon 20 (in July) will probably be the only public appearances I agree to this year.

If you have not already, please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

A misspelling blunder on my part last night led to the creation of a new word: tyransitiuon. So, I thought I'd post it here and solicit definitions, etymologies, whatever.

It seems as though there were other things I meant to say today, but, if so, they escape me now. There was a little WoW last night. Not much. Shaharrazad and Suraa made Level 62 in Silithus. They're both very unhappy about working for night elves. I'm losing patience with the game, which seems to get harder and harder on solo players the higher you go. That is, it gets harder and harder to find enough quests to advance, and, less and less, I fail to see the point of it all. Got a spiffy new jade-handled katana, though. Okay. Time to finish the coffee.
greygirlbeast: (Middle Triassic)
Yesterday, I did 1,130 words on Chapter Six of The Red Tree. Afterwards, we read over the pages. Any day that "the rushes" manage to give Spooky the creeps is a day I know I've written well (that is, of course, provided I meant to evoke creepiness that day). Looking at my schedule, deadlines, short stories, Sirenia Digest, and so's a damned good thing I had those 1,500+ word days, because, otherwise, I'd be unspeakably behind.

As for the remainder of yesterday, I read through a couple of papers in the June Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology —— "A reassessment of some poorly known turtles from the Middle Jurassic of China, with comments on the antiquity of extant turtles" and "A rare Danian (Early Paleocene) Chlamydoselachus (Chondrichthyes: Elasmobranchi) from the Takatika Grit, Chatham Islands, New Zealand." Spooky got Chinese takeaway for dinner, and then there was far, far, far too much World of Warcraft ("elf crack"). By the way, it's not just me, so there's no danger of Spooky becoming a "WoW widow." She also has a night-elf character, a druid named Syllahr. As for Merricat, she reached Level 14 and almost made it to Level 15, but quests seemed to be running short, and so I fear it's away to Darkshore for me. I also attended to some SL business, some notices regarding the Howards End sim. And late, watched (for the umpteenth time) Joseph L. Mankiewicz's adaptation of Tennessee Williams' brilliant and horrifying play, "Suddenly, Last Summer" (which I recently summed up as The Golden Bough meets Lovecraft by way of the Southern Gothic). I am endlessly fascinated by Violet Venable tending dead Sebastian's primordial jungle. Anyway, that was yesterday.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, and note that not only is there a copy of The Five of Cups, but there's the first copy of Tales from the Woeful Platypus that we have ever offered for auction. Oh, have I mentioned that subpress will be doing my third "weird erotica" collection, Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, next year? I must have...

Also, remember that subpress is now taking pre-orders for my first sf collection, A is for Alien, and that the new mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds is now available..

Okay. The words are waiting. But here are a few photographs from our drive down to Harbor of Refuge on Monday evening:

Harbor of Refuge, September 15th, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (CatvonD vamp)
The current eBay auctions are ending today. Please have a look, if you are so inclined. That seems to be our last copy of the sold-out trade hardback edition of To Charles Fort, With Love.


Woke to a rainy morning here in Providence. It is impossible, of course, not the check into the NOAA website to keep an eye on the progress of Gustav, and for that matter, Hanna. I know too many people in the paths of each storm not to worry.

A week or so ago I mentioned being somewhat pleasantly baffled that Trisha Telep chose "Untitled 12" and "Ode to Edvard Munch" for her anthology, The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance. From Amazon, the following quotes illustrate my point. A reader reviewed the book story-by-story, giving each story a star rating (X out of 5). Of my two, she wrote, "My least favorite were both of Kiernan's entries...the vague poetic style of these stories left me unconnected to their characters." I am amused:

"Ode to Evdard [sic] Munch" - Caitlin Kiernan - A man shares his blood with a mysterious vamp for a piece of her dreams. (3 stars - no romance and the connection between the leads was odd)"

—— and especially ——

"Untitled 12" - Cailtlin R. Kiernan - A sick woman searches until a vampire finds her. (1 star - I detested this one. More on the horror side, the vampire and the turning were truly icky, though I debated giving an extra star to the author for inspiring such strong negative feelings with so few words.)"

There's no place here where I can say that the reader seems to have misunderstood anything, unless, perhaps, it was the fundamental principles of fiction and that low-brow bit about "vague poetic style." I am rather pleased that "Untitled 12" inspired such loathing, as it was written, in part, as a response to the glut of "romantic" vampire prOn, and "Ode to Edvard Munch," being, in part, a dream cycle, it is undeniably "odd" (though I am left to wonder how a mortal and a vampire would have a non-odd connection). I think this gets back to what I have said before about the expectation of genre readers defeating texts, and writers who cater to such readers. And the "supernatural romance" crowd is at least as bad as the hard sf crowd. For my part, I'm pleased that Telep wanted these two stories in her book, and that pleasure arises specifically from the knowledge that they were so completely opposite of what the readers would be expecting. You know, blood, instead of red cotton candy. In the end, I blame Anne Rice (who once knew better), and her idiot step-daughter, Laurell K. Hamilton, for the the sad state of affairs with vampires in genre fiction, as well as this whole absurd "paranormal romance" subgenre thing.


Yesterday. It throws me off making entries late in the day. But, yesterday there was...stuff. Last night, Spooky and I watched Martin McDonagh's genuinely brilliant and thoroughly delightful In Bruges (2008), which I recommend most highly. Great cast. Great script. And Bruges. I read another paper from the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology —— "Mahajangasuchus insignis [Crocodyliformes; Mesoeucrocodylia] cranial anatomy and new data on the origin of the eusuchian-style palate." Mahajangasuchus is one of those grand bull-dog crocs, and the observations on the evolution of the "hard" palate in crocodyliforms was especially interesting, that the structure might have arisen both as a response to the need to decouple the oral cavity from respiration (an advantage only to aquatic forms, and pretty much the leading idea since Huxley proposed it in 1875) and also as a response to torsional feeding stresses. I even have a picture:

Cast of the skull of Mahajangasuchus from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar


Last night, more EVE, which I do enjoy, despite the breakneck learning curve and despite the emphasis on PvP action. The latter is especially problematic, and I'm disappointed the game places so much stress on conformity and cooperation and makes no real provision for loner malcontents like me (and most of the characters I create). Then, too, there is the game's manic devotion to corporate commerce as a driving force for its story, when there could have been so much more of substance to motivate its players (religion, race, politics, etc.). Economics has always bored me to tears, and much of EVE revolves around buying and selling and stock and shares and blah, blah, blah. I just want to zip around the universe fighting space pirates (or, better yet, being a space pirate), shagging hot aliens, and gawking at new star systems. So, EVE gets two thumbs up for realizing such an amazingly complex gaming universe, and for making it beautiful, and two thumbs down for turning it into a dreadful capitalist bore that expects me to constantly interact with PvP-obsessed teenagers who name their starships after their penises and wouldn't know "suspension of disbelief" if it cut off their allowances. Regardless, tonight I have to get back to work on Howards End. It's time to attend to a lot of the details of the necropolis/warren/train tunnel complex, and soon we'll be laying the streets. My thanks to everyone who's sent me information on potential characters. If I have not already been in touch, I will soon. I just badly needed a break from SL.

Postscript (4:32 p.m.): from NOAA: 000
WTNT62 KNHC 301718
120 PM EDT SAT AUG 30 2008

greygirlbeast: (white2)
Yesterday, for the first time, we read aloud through "The Z Word," start to finish. I hadn't heard any of it out loud, which is unusual, as we usually read the days pages aloud right off. Anyway, it holds up. Vince has already begun work on the illustration. The rest of the workday was spent going over the Daughter of Hounds excerpts that will also appear in Sirenia Digest #33, and I wrote an extra-long prolegomena for the issue (or so it felt, at 661 words). I also spoke with Bill Schafer about doing a third erotica collection for subpress next year, and that project now has a green light.

Please note that the copy of To Charles Fort, With Love included in the current eBay auctions appears to be the last copy of the trade hardcover edition that we have for sale. Which came as a surprise to Spooky and me both. So, considering the collection is sold out, and this is likely my last copy for eBay, you might want to have a look. Also, if you missed it yesterday, A is for Alien now has a cover (art by surrealist Jacek Yerka, which just pleases me no end).


When the work was done yesterday, Spooky said, "Let's go to the beach," so we did. Only, first we stopped in to see her mom and dad in Saunderstown. We talked about apples, Wyoming, rock climbing, Colorado, jellybeans, and the subversiveness of science. Her dad had several back issues of Science for me, all of August, I think (he's a department chair and Professor of Anthropology and Marine Affairs in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Rhode Island). Then we headed south to Moonstone Beach, which we'd not visited since way back on July 28th. This beach has so many moods, and yesterday it was still and quiet. Not much surf, and the air was so clear we could see south all the way to the northern shore of Block Island, about 13 miles away. We waded a bit, and both got a lot wetter than we'd intended. There were tracks of plovers, gulls, and cormorants everywhere. Tiny dinosaur tracks. We saw a flock of almost forty cormorants, when we'd never seen more than three or four together, previously. The last of this year's rose hips have ripened. We saw the pair of swans on Trustom Pond we've been seeing all summer long. A beautiful evening. There are photos below.


Back in Providence, we got some Chinese takeaway and, being in the mood for something goofy and charming, we watched Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou (1965, directed by Elliot Silverstein). Then I did some work on the first go at a set of rules (the "do's and don'ts" sort) for the Howards End players and sent it out. It will need a good deal of expansion and revision before we begin in October, but it's a start. Basically, I'm looking at all that time I've spent in other sims and other rps, at everything that's mucked up rps in which I have taken part, and trying to weed out the problems before they arise. The terraforming is coming along nicely, most notably the warrens and necropolis by the sea, and the old train tunnel under College Hill. Oh, and I got a really oogy new skin for my Ravnos antitribu character (from Corvinus, a different rp), so now we no longer have to pretend she has welts and blisters and seeping open sores due to her horrid photohypersensativity. Now she looks the part. Oh, and Spooky worked on the Bailff avatar, who is looking quite a bit like Sid Haig


Today has been declared an Official Day Off, my first since Monday the 18th, nine days ago. I was getting kind of ragged. Anyway, here are the photos:

Moonstone Beach, August 27th, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (blood)
I have an email this morning from director Frank Woodward, maker of Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown. Frank writes. "Just wanted you to know that Lovecraft won Best Documentary Film at Comic-Con. Your section on Deep Time continues to mesmerize. People consistently mention it to me after they see the film." So, that's cool. Very cool. May it win many more awards.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,015 words on "Derma Sutra (1891)," for Sirenia Digest #32. This piece is genuinely "weird erotica." No. Ditch the silly, pc "erotica" tag. This is "weird pornography." If Lovecraft had ever decided to write porno, well, I think, honestly, it would have looked a lot like "Derma Sutra (1891)." Even though there's not a single tentacle or a squamous batrachian fish-person in sight.

I haven't been wanting to write here about my dratted health. The last month I've been struggling with pain from that upper left molar I cracked in the grand mal seizure back in October. My dentist in Birmingham was skeptical of her chances of saving it. And now I'm thinking that she didn't. She sent me off to Providence with a penicillin script and another for Lortab, should the tooth go hot before I find a dentist. I have not yet found a dentist. And I've only taken one of the Lortab, as ibuprofen is controlling the pain, mostly, even though it does a number on my stomach (and me and pain meds have an ugly history I do not want to see replayed). So, if I have seemed out of step or extra curmudgeonly or whatever, it's mostly the pain and worry about the pain and the uncertainty and so forth. The pain wakes me in the mornings. It's become that very first thing of the day, this sensation like someone's socked me in the jaw right proper. But I absolutely can't stop work on The Red Tree and the digest to have a tooth pulled or root canaled or whatever. I cannot risk being sidetracked, not at this point (yes, this is part of the "romantic" life of a freelance writer).

Spooky's added a PC copy of the leather-bound edition of Frog Toes and Tentacles to the new round of eBay auctions, along with another copy of Alabaster Please have a look, and bid, should you be so disposed. Thanks. And I'll remind you that subpress is now taking preorders on A is for Alien.

After the writing yesterday, we escaped the house and headed for Moonstone Beach. I was hoping that the storms on Sunday would have cast up some interesting things. And, in fact, when we reached Moonstone, we discovered wonderful lag deposits of pebbles, which are not normally present there, not in such great numbers. So, as the sun set and Asian families fished for blue crabs in Trustom Pond (using chicken legs on string), we crawled about on the sand and stone, looking for bits of beach glass. Spooky found the best pieces. My eyes are just too lousy these days. We picked up a bag full of plastic garbage. At some point, I just lay down on the wet pebbles and sand, just lay there listening to the surf and the birds. And it occurred to me, This is what I have, and this is why I do the writing, and put up with the pain. This is why I'm hanging on, because I can lie on the beach, with the sea lapping at my feet, and know that this one thing, at least, is real. It's not much, but, then again, it's everything, the seashore, that liminal space where earth and ocean meet. It's what I desire, and what I have earned. Ah, and I found a very nice carapace of a spider crab (Libinia emarginata) and brought it home with me. We left as it was getting dark, and the Asian families were still snagging crabs with chicken legs.

Set me aflame and cast me free.
Away, you wretched world of tethers...

After dinner at Iggy's in Narragansett, we stopped by Spooky parents' on the way back, to get cucumbers and yellow crooked-neck squash and eggs and just visit. The sky is so marvelous over their farm, the stars so brilliant. Heading back into town last night, I think my mind was still lying on the beach. Entering Providence, I had some weird flashback to Southland Tales, and it seemed to me —— and the sensation lingers this afternoon —— Here is the Future, as much as there is ever a "future," and it is bizarre and deadly, ugly and wondrous, and I have no place here. It's an unsettling sort of realization, and yet I can't find any fault with it. I think it was about 10:30 pm when we finally got home again.

Oh, there was a question from a reader, who asks, "I was reading some of your old posts today and it reminded me you sometimes referred to your 'favorite Thai place' in Atlanta. Could you share the name with me or in the blog?" And yes, now that I am here in Providence and no longer have to worry about dinner being interrupted by a well-meaning fan, I can (it actually happened at that restaurant a couple of times, which is why I never named it). Thai Bowl in Decatur, though the old, now-deceased location off Highland was better. Thai Bowl is one of the few things I miss about Atlanta.

And one last thing in this long entry. Yes, to create an avatar in Second Life that looks good, that moves well, etc., you will have to go beyond the default freebie av. And roleplay is far better with good avs and decent animation overrides and so forth. But, here's the thing —— compared to the charges incurred by popular MMORPGs, (which SL is not, not an MMORPG, I mean), such as WoW and The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, creation of a good av is really incredibly cheap. For $10 (US; and that's a nice pile of Lindens), or $20 (if you want to get really fancy), you can create a wonderful, unique character, and it's not like there are monthly charges on free accounts, or like the rp sims charge you to play there. Just saying....

Below are four photos from yesterday evening:

Moonstone Beach, July 28, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (chi2)
So, yes, the list of not-writing things I have to do today is annoyingly long, a string of undertakings united only by the fact that a) they are related to writing, b) are not the actual act of writing, and c) I do not wish to do them. But there you go. Tedium is just another part of the landscape.

Yesterday. Let's see.

Well, I read Volume Two of Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and as some had predicted, I liked it even better than Volume One. This one was Mina's, and I couldn't have been more pleased. I adored the Barsoom stuff at the start, and the love scenes between Mina and Quartermain were touching and sexy and funny. In the end, I think, Hyde almost stole the show, and I adored that, too. My only complaint was that the ending seemed just a little rushed, bringing down the Martians and all, and it seems to me the story could have used a couple more issues. But that's a quibble. Now, of course, I have to wait until October for The Back Dossier.

Sometime after dark, we went out into the steamy night, to Videodrome, to rent Tom Tykwer's Perfume: The Story of A Murderer (2006), which I somehow missed during the one week it was playing at Midtown here in Atlanta. Based upon Patrick Süskind's novel, Das Parfum (which Spooky has read, but I haven't), it is surely one of the most sublimely erotic films I have ever seen. Like all the best erotica, it's not for the faint of heart, or those who have no use for fairy tales, or those who get queasy at the sight of blood or filth or maggots. There were echoes of Angela Carter and some of Herzog's early films (I'm thinking Heart of Glass, in particular). When it was over, and I was breathing normally again, I told Spooky that the last film that affected me that viscerally was The Proposition. It's that raw, that unfettered, that fucking perfect. This is a film that truly must be seen, unless visceral isn't your cup of tea. In which case, you may be excused. But damn, what an amazing, amazing film.

The heat is still with us. We shall likely see 100F again today, and I won't even make a guess at the heat index.

A couple of days back someone asked if I am in the "Al Gore camp" as regards mankind being responsible for global warming, for this current period of global warming. And I said that yes, of course I am. I said that, given the preponderance of available data, from such such diverse disciplines as meteorology, paleoclimatology, geology, and oceanography, that there is no longer any other reasonable conclusion to be drawn. But I think there's something more I should have said. And it is this. Regarding global warming the only remaining controversy is political, not scientific. Science has reached a consensus, after decades of research. Sure, you can still find scientists who are skeptical that humanity is the cause, because that's how science works. But there are fewer of them every day. The only reason the public "controversy" persists is because so many people have such a profoundly nonscientific and economic stake in there seeming to be a controversy. Which is to say, it's not something that people want to believe, because the consequences of believing it and accepting responsibility are so dire. But that's not how science works, this matter of believing only that which is convenient and comfortable. At least not when science is working right. Anyway, I felt like my reply was incomplete, and now it is less so.

Okay. There's tedium awaiting me...
greygirlbeast: (white)
Because, you know, you can only write "yesterday I didn't write anything" so many times. It gets old. But yesterday I did write, 1,332 words on a piece called "Scene in the Museum (1896)" for Sirenia Digest #21. It did about 300 words the day before. I'm getting back in the saddle, as they say. I am striving, presently, to write an erotic tale that has neither fantasy nor sf elements (though it has a murder-ballad edge); we shall see how that goes.

The heat continues, though we did get a brief respite yesterday, and it won't be too terrible today — only 90F right now, with a heat index of 98F, high forecast at 96F. But if the meteorologists are to be trusted, the worst of August will arrive later this week. I went five days without leaving the house. Last night, Spooky pushed me out the front door and we had a good and bat-haunted walk. Then, later, we went out again to try to catch a glimpse of this year's Perseid shower, but between the inescapable light pollution of Atlanta and the humidity (which was making a glowing haze of the former), little could be glimpsed of the sky, and no meteors were seen. I think it was about 2:45 a.m. when we came in from not seeing meteors.

Nothing much to say about the last couple of unblogged days. Besides the writing. We're working our way through the Matrix trilogy again: The Matrix on Saturday (nine years already?), then The Matrix Reloaded last night. They hold up well, and the second film is, I think, far better than I gave it credit for being at the time of its original release. I'm still reading bits and pieces of Anaïs Nin, and yesterday Spooky picked up a copy of Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters (1998), a sort of modern Victorian erotic novel. We seem to be swaying in that direction these days. Well, that and wooden legs with secret compartments for the stowing of Derringers. I've been getting by on absinthe, iced coffee, Red Bull, pink lemonade, and as little food as possible. Byron came around on Friday night for Dr. Who and didn't leave until sometime after one a.m. It's official: David Tennant has grown on me. Now Byron's in Chicago for a week of job training, so we shall be even more reclusive than usual. On Friday, I guess it was, I read all of Mike Mignola's Jenny Finn, which I'd been meaning to get to for forever. We've had quite a bit of Second Life, though I closed the Palaeozoic Museum until August 17th, while I prepare the cephalopod exhibit. And really, those are the highlights.

This week, I have to decide on the cover artist (likely to be a photographer) for the forthcoming subpress edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder.

I've been pointed towards the blogs of various members of Abney Park: [ profile] robert_from_ap, [ profile] abneyangel, [ profile] nathan_fhtagn, and [ profile] magdaleneveen. My thanks to [ profile] ellyssian and [ profile] chenderson for those links!

Though I think I have made this announcement already, I'll make it again, to avoid confusion: No, I will not be at Dragon*Con this year. I'm too busy, too far behind on deadlines, and, at any rate, I think the days of conventions are behind me.

Okay. It's 12:39, and I must get back to the writing. I'd still love to see more comments on Sirenia Diigest #20!
greygirlbeast: (chi2)
As I begin this entry, the temperature here in Atlanta is 96F with a heat index of 100F. The day's actual high is forecast at 101F.

Yesterday, the postman brought a present from Peter Straub, a copy of his new book of non-fiction, Sides (Cemetery Dance Publications), which includes the afterword he wrote for the first edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder back in 1999. Thank you, Peter.

No writing in these quarters yesterday. It's so hot there are no birds singing until long after sunset. Or so it seems. Even the cicadas hardly make a sound. We read more Anaïs Nin — "Marieanne" and "Elena." Spooky went out into the fullness of the heat a couple of times, but I didn't leave the house.

In the 1930s and '40s, Anaïs Nin was "the madam of a literary house of prostitution." For one dollar a page, she and many of her friends — other writers and artists — wrote erotica for an anonymous "collector." The collector insisted, again and again, that the erotica be devoid of any hint of "poetry." This from the preface to The Delta of Venus:

December, 1941

George Barker was terribly poor. He wanted to write more erotica. He wrote eight-five pages. The collector thought they were too surrealistic. I loved them. His scenes of lovemaking were disheveled and fantastic. Love between trapezes

He drank away the first money, and I could not lend him anything but more paper and carbons. George Barker, the excellent English poet, writing erotica to drink, just as Utrillo painted painting in exchange for bottle of wine. I began to think about the old man we all hated. I decided to write to him, address him directly, tell him about our feelings.

"Dear Collector: We hate you. Sex loses all its power and magic when it becomes explicit, mechanical, overdone, when it becomes a mechanistic obsession. It becomes a bore. You have taught us more than anyone I know how wrong it is not to mix it with emotion, hunger, desire, lust, whims, caprices, personal ties, deeper relationships that change its color, flavor, rhythms, intensities.

You do not know what you are missing by your microscopic examination of sexual activity to the exclusion of aspects which are the fuel that ignites it. Intellectual, imaginative, romantic, emotional. This is what gives sex its surprising textures, its subtle transformations, its aphrodisiac elements. You are shrinking your world of sensations. You are withering it, starving it, draining its blood.

If you nourished your sexual life with all the excitements and adventures which love injects into sensuality,
you would be the most potent man in the world. The source of sexual power is curiosity, passion. You are watching its little flame die of asphyxiation. Sex does not thrive on monotony. Without feeling, inventions, moods, no surprises in bed. Sex must be mixed with tears, laughter, words, promises, scenes, jealousy, envy, all the spices of fear, foreign travel, new faces, novels, stories, dreams, fantasies, music, dancing, opium, wine.

How much do you lose by this periscope at the tip of your sex, when you could enjoy a harem of distinct and never-repeated wonders? No two hairs alike, but you will not let us waste words on a description of hair; no two odors, but if we expand on this you cry Cut the poetry. No two skins with the same texture, and never the same light, temperature, shadows, never the same gesture; for a lover, when he is aroused by true love, can run the gamut of centuries of love lore. What a range, what changes of age, what variations of maturity and innocence, perversity and art...

We have sat around for hours and wondered how you look. If you have closed your senses upon silk, light, color, odor, character, temperament, you must be by now completely shriveled up. There are so many minor senses, all running like tributaries into the mainstream of sex, nourishing it. Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy."

I may spend the day hiding in the bathtub.

Oh, I keep forgetting. Spooky has listed another copy of the mmp of Theshold on eBay, so if you'd like a signed, personalised copy, you might want to have a look.

If there's anything I've forgotten, I'm sure it can wait until later.

Postscript (3:23 p.m.) — The temp has reached 100F, with a heat index of 108F.


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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