greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Comment!

Spooky just quoted the Agricultural Commissioner of the state of Florida to me. "This snail is one bad dude," she said. Well, she said, he said. These are our mornings.

Yesterday, I didn't work. My body isn't exhausted. I've actually been getting more sleep than I did for a long time (finally having discovered the effective anti-insomnia cocktail...for me), but I've been working so much. For a long time, I was truly too ill to take on more than...this gets sort of funny. Even when I was very ill, I was working a lot. I'm making a living as a freelance, and so there's no choice but to work. Health is not relevant, not really. Regardless, about a year and a half ago, I began getting better, and taking on more work, and conceiving new ideas, and, at this point, I go to sleep working out problems in my fiction and wake up doing the same thing. Okay, more the former than the latter. But it's catching up with me, and my mind and nerves are tired. All thus fucking work. So, I didn't work yesterday.

I suppose autumn is here. I haven't spent much time outside, but it must be here. I feel it. It isn't looking in. Why would it bother? But I feel its dry brown eyes upon me, if only because I'm in the way. Not that I believe the autumn is something that can literally have eyes. And speaking of the autumn, and Hallowe'en, Spooky is having a Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries. 20% off on everything! And if you don't buy something, she'll get sad, and when she gets sad.... Well, trust me. You don't want her sad. So, please...buy something. The necklaces are truly amazing.

Actually, I hate that word. Sad*, I mean. It's a child's word. There at least twenty synonyms in the English language that are far more suitable to mature vocabularies. Of course, if you are a child, by all means, good word. Use it till the wheels fall off.*

I'm having a great deal of frustration as regards futurism at the moment. I don't mean the artistic movement that arose in Italy about 1910 (including Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Gino Severini, Giacomo Balla, Antonio Sant'Elia, Tullio Crali and Luigi Russolo, plus the Russians Natalia Goncharova, Velimir Khlebnikov, and Vladimir Mayakovsky). I mean futurism in the many senses that it is employed by those who wish to analyze trends and then forecast. But I don't mean those looking for better futures (there are none), and I don't mean those who believe the future can be accurately forecast (that's almost impossible; not quite, but almost). What I have in mind is far simpler: communicating to people that the future will be alien, just as the past is alien. That is, alien to us, from the Here and Now. And convincing people they do not currently live in some incarnation or portion of the future (excepting that this came after that; well, that's bloody obvious, and now you're even older). I mean, the future will be different, and the farther you move into the future, the stranger (less like now) it becomes. That everything evolves, and not just technology, but culture. SF writers have an especial problem with evolving culture, economics, biology, medicine, politics, and especially with evolving language. But...I'm not actually concerned here with writers. Even the worst SF writer is ahead of the curve in this regard. I'm talking about...oh, never mind. You can lead a horse to a fine Bordeaux, but it's just gonna want the oogy, muddy, stinking water in the drinking through, where all the rodents poop. Some will know of what I speak; others will not.

Did I mention that Spooky is having a Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries. I did? Just checking.

Last night, we happened to see a rather good movie, Christian Alvart's Case 39 (2009), with Renée Zellweger, Ian McShane, and Jodelle Ferland. I went in not expecting much, and was pleasantly surprised. You could call this a "horror movie," and maybe it is. But I find it more interesting to think of as a film about terror and horror (and those aren't the same emotions, you know, regardless of how linked they may be). Also, while this film clearly comes from the demonic child/possession tradition, it immediately struck me as a story about a fairie changeling, and (though the word demon is tossed about a couple of times, and we see a crucifix and a Bible, the Xtianity thing is almost absent). So, it may be Alvart had something far less concrete than a "demon" (sensu Xtianity) in mind. It may only be that he understands the American mind, needing something familiar, would fix on "demon." Anyway, Case 39 is not a particularly original movie, so if you're that sort (and I hope you're not), don't waste your time with it. It plays old tropes, but it plays them well. It's not brilliant, but it is good, and it's stuck with me. There are elements it borrows from better films, but it borrows them well. And, even in an ending that might seem hopeful, step back, and you'll see the overwhelming bleakness and horror still in play. It's streaming free on Netflix.

Later, I read a truly awful story in the Halloween anthology, Lyllian Huntley Harris' "The Vow on Halloween." Never heard of Lyllian Huntley Harris? Well, neither had I, and with good reason. The anthology's editor (who freely admits this tale is "pure pulp and quaintly romantic") notes that the story was, in a 1985 anthology, mistakenly attributed to the Irish novelist Dorothy Macardle. Turns out, though, it was published in Weird Tales in 1924, by a Georgian woman (that is, Georgia, USA), and her name was Lyllian Huntley Harris, and she couldn't write for shit. Virtually nothing else is known about her. She died in 1939.

Oh, we saw the first episode of Season Four of Fringe, and...wow. More, please. I am impressed and pleased. There are points I could get picky about, but I'm not going to, because the show is just too much fun.

Also, here's an interesting bit of trivia. My first rejection slip ever came from the late, lamented Twlight Zone magazine in 1982 (at least, I think it was '82). The story was a stinker, and it deserved the rejection, believe me. Anyway, at the time, the editor was T. E. D. Klein, who wrote the excellent and surprisingly (to me) successful Machenesque novel The Ceremonies (1984) and the shorty-story collection Dark Gods (1985), and, sadly, very little else. But, yeah, my first rejection slip came from T. E. D. Klein, who, turns out, wrote the introduction of the forthcoming Hippocampus Press collection of Arthur Machen stories, which will feature the afterword I wrote in 2008 for a different collection of Machen stories. It's an odd little twist of fate.

Um...well...I have gone on haven't I?

Inveterate,
Aunt Beast

* Then again, there's really nothing wrong with the word sad. Not intrinsically. The problem is people who use it childishly, habitually, with marked naïveté. Usually, these are people with a stunted world view.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
The tree outside my office window is finally greening.

It's Saturday, and I'm locked inside. Please comment.

And this is one of the days when I chafe at the tyranny of my pill bottles and boxes. I'd like to open the window and drop them out. Fuck you, defective brain chemistry. Let the pieces fall where they may, but at least they'd be my pieces. Not a pharmaceutical hybrid always telling me that's my face in the mirror, when I know better.

Fuck you, 47.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,599 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges. My plan is to have the first chapter finished by Wednesday, and then set the book aside until September. Which is, I know, a weird way to write a book, but another book needs to be written in between. And maybe when I come back to Blood Oranges at the end of the summer, I'll have figured out everything that happens after Chapter One.

---

I've made it almost all the way through the latest JVP, articles on Cenomanian squamates in France, the skull of the Early Triassic parareptile Sauropareion, saber-toothed cats from the Pleistocene of Venezuela, the therapsid Promoschorynchus, and a new Lower Carboniferous xenacanthiform shark from Australia.

---

Night before last, we watched Tony Scott's Unstoppable (2010), which is the other movie about trouble with trains he made, immediately after having done the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009). Both, of course, star Denzel Washington. Anyway, Unstoppable is good, and Washington is always a joy to watch. But, Chris Pine is dull as engine sludge, and it's a different sort of film than The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. As much as I enjoyed Unstoppable, I found myself wishing for the electricity that had sparked back and forth between that film's antagonist and protagonist. But the presence of Rosario Dawson (who played Abernathy in Death Proof) helped.

Last night, we watched two "horror" movies. The first was an entirely enjoyable and stupendously ridiculous Joel Schumacher film, Blood Creek (2009). Rednecks in Virginia fight a zombie demon Nazi occultist in a big scary house where time has stood still since 1940. And there's a zombie horse that, honest to fuck, is one of the scariest things I've seen in ages. I expected nothing from this film, and liked it a lot. It's much more artful than it has any right to be. See it.

We also watched Kevin Costner in Luis Berdejo's The New Daughter, which is very remotely based on a short story by John Connolly. All that said, it really isn't very good, which should surprise no one, as Kevin Costner hasn't, to my knowledge, been in a good movie since 1993 (A Perfect World, directed by Clint Eastwood). However, the sad thing is, The New Daughter has a lot of isolated effective moments, and it could have been brilliant. But the pacing's off, the film's about half an hour too long, is filled with actors who can't act, and feels like it wants to be a television mini-series. In fact, the uninspired cinematography absolutely screams old-school network TV mini-series. Essentially, it's a fairytale. More specifically, a changeling story and an animal groom story. But it fails to mine the riches of that fictional territory (if, indeed, the film is even that aware of it's fundamental nature). The archetypes and opportunities are left to die on the vine while Kevin Costner flails about and pouts and fails at being a single helicopter parent. A bright spot, however, is Ivana Baquero (Pan's Labyrinth), who makes the best of a bad situation and rocks the fuck out of what little she's given to work with. The film's final shot might have been brilliant, but it gets mucked up by ham-fisted "horror" clichés. See this one if you're bored, or enjoy picking apart bad films that ought to have been better.

---

You know, I really do love Rift. In terms of a fantasy MMORPG, it's the best there's ever been. It's beautiful to look at, usually fun to play, and all that. It's even queer friendly. But the more I play, and the more the shiny wears off, the more I see how much better and smarter it ought to be. Look, here's the thing. I've said it before. Trion, are you listening?

Writer's work cheap.

Especially fantasy writers. We very often do our best work for a few pennies a word. It's obscene, but true. And it's entirely relevant here, Trion, because you didn't have to do this wrong. The plot holes, almost complete lack of internal logical integrity, faulty world-building, and so on and so forth, all that stuff could have been avoided. And you wouldn't have to be posting what is essentially poorly written fan fic to your website, mucking things up even more. You could have done this right, Trion, and either you were ignorant of that fact, or you just didn't give a shit. But it's not about money. Because, like I said (REPEAT AFTER ME), writers work cheap. And even moderately incompetent hacks who never aspired to write anything more ambitious than a twelve-volume epic – following the adventures of a Drow anti-hero with a name that makes me laugh – can do better.

This is my message to the whole goddamn world right now: You can do better. Yes, you can. And if you know this, and you continue on about your sloppy, lazy, half-assed ways, well...people will love you and shower you with riches and you'll win awards. Because this is the way the world works.

But some days it makes me more nauseous than others.

---

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

Venting Spleen,
Aunt Beast
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: (Default)
I just figured it out. I'm not an insomniac, after all. Instead, I'm clearly suffering from hypnophobia, which is also called somniphobia. An irrational fear of sleep. Why didn't anyone ever tell me? Hypnophobia sounds ever so much cooler than insomnia.

So, in the weird-shit-happens category, yesterday I complained about some doofus on Amazon.com who suspects I "just threw in an ending" when writing The Red Tree. Which led [livejournal.com profile] robyn_ma to make a funny joke about a magical store called Endings where writers buy, you know, endings. Which led to my wanting to write a story about that very store. So, yesterday I wrote 1,010 words on a new piece (for Sirenia Digest #61) titled "—30—". Don't worry...I asked her permission, and she granted it, so I'm not committing the very crime I was complaining about in yesterday's entry.

Speaking of which, [livejournal.com profile] teacup_carousel has informed me there's a cosmetics company, Archetype Cosmetics, which has evidently named a number of products for my work: So far I've counted Low Red Moon, Child of Hounds, Glass Coffin (which is perhaps not damning in its self but when you consider that the next one is -)Salmagundi, Salambo, Madam Terpsichore and The Gargoyle Trees.

Thing is, this is all perfectly legit. I'm even a tiny bit flattered. I just wish they'd told me, so I could have been a tiny bit flattered earlier on. Also, a word of caution, apparently Archetype Cosmetics has a history of taking a very, very, very long time to fill orders, so consider yourselves warned and don't count this mention as any sort of endorsement.

My grateful thanks to everyone who took a few moments yesterday to comment on The Red Tree over at Amazon.com. It helps. It genuinely does.

---

Last night, we finished reading [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's Valiant. Whereas I very much liked Tithe, I actually loved Valiant. Where the hell was this book when I was sixteen? Street kids, magical heroin, junkies strung out on pixie dust, intrigue in rat-infested New York subways, hot troll action, goth baby dykes, murderous fay women with hooves, and a glass sword. It's a YA novel that isn't afraid to let the monsters be monstrous, and that understands that monsters can be heroes as well as villains, and that has the nerve to cast a troll as the male love interest. Not a prettied-up troll, not the whole cop-out "Beauty and the Beast" shtick where the troll turns out to be an ensorceled prince charming, but an actual, factual troll. So, thank you, Holly. Team Ravus! You rock. Now, on to Ironside.

---

The hypnophobia has me feeling— pretty much literally —like I've been hit by a train (not that I've ever been hit by a train, but I think this is how it would feel), so I'm wrapping this up. I think I'm going to fill the bathtub with black coffee and aspirin and lie in it a while. There's broken glass and razor blades embedded beneath my flesh.

Yours in Pain,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Illyria)
No, really. And I blame you, Holly Black.

Speaking of whom, a great quote from her short story, "Virgin," for all the New Age airy-fairy twits who somehow have it in their head that fairies are all about the "positive healing energy":

"Let me tell you something about unicorns— They're fairies and fairies aren't to be trusted. Read your storybooks. But maybe you can't get past the rainbows and pastel crap. That's your problem."

---

And here's something nifty. "Your Age on Other Worlds." Not sure which I take more comfort from, that on Mars I'm 24.7 years old or that on Jupiter I'm 41,479.3 years old.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 2,035 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And made it through a scene I'd been dreading. With luck, I'll finish Chapter Three this afternoon. This is such a very different book for me, vastly different from everything before The Red Tree, but different, also, from The Red Tree. It might almost be YA. It's the nearest I've ever come to my Shirley Jackson roots, and quite a bit distant from the influence of Lovecraft.

As for the rest of yesterday, there was more Miéville and Susanna Clarke, and at bedtime, we read two stories by [livejournal.com profile] blackholly, "Virgin" (quoted above) and "In Vodka Veritas." Both delightful.

---

I'm sleeping somewhat better, now that I'm taking the Lamictal at noon instead of midnight. Not great, but better.

--

Because my terrifying nerdiness knows no decent bounds, last night Shaharrazad (my blood-elf warlock), earned the title, "the Seeker" in WoW. Which means I've done 3,000 quests. Which took a total of (in game play) 49 days, 19 hours.

---

After dinner last night, I had a grim talk with Spooky about the current state of my career, and my life, in general. Sometimes, we must have grim talks, if only to keep us honest.

It's time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
The only thing keeping me in this chair, at this desk, today is knowledge that clouds and rain are heading towards Providence from the west, and will be here shortly. Otherwise, Spooky and I would be on our way to Beavertail.

But there will be clouds, and there will be rain, and so I'll sit here and wrestle with the dreamsickness.

No actual writing yesterday. Lots and lots of reading on alchemy and dragons, looking for the way into "The Alchemist's Daughter" (a title I'm growing increasingly unhappy with). Today, I need the words to come.

And, by the way, as of night before last, we've been in Providence for a whole year now. Which just seems impossible. But a good sort of impossible.

Probably the best thing about yesterday was the arrival of a 1941 Royal typewriter we found on Etsy. It's the same make and model as the one that Sarah Crowe discovers in the basement of the old house on Barbs Hill Road, the one Charles Harvey was writing on, the one that Sarah uses to write The Red Tree. It's one of the few props we needed to acquire to shoot the promotional "trailer" this summer, and Spooky was lucky enough to find someone over on the east side of Providence with one for sale cheap, even though it's in fantastic condition. This is, by the way, the same make and model of typewriter that I grew up writing on, and that I was still using as recently as 1985. It weighs a marvelous 30+ pounds. Here are a couple of photos:





By the way, I'm trying to think of a contest wherein the prize would be one of the ARCs of The Red Tree. So far, the best idea has been a contest to create banner ads, and that's certainly something I need, but I'm still thinking. I might come up with something even better. The book will be released on August 4th, in case you're wondering.

Last night, Spooky read to me from Andrea Barrett's The Voyage of the Narwhal, and we watched Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy II: The Golden Army again. Gods, I adore this film, and not only for its beautiful and terrifying vision of Faerie (though that would be sufficient). And then we played some WoW. I'm almost halfway to Lvl 70, which is as high as I'll go for a while. We're planning on playing through the rest of "The Burning Crusade" expansion, and going back and doing a lot of the dungeons on Azeroth we were unable to do when we should have, before moving along to "Wrath of the Lich King." Northrend and the death knights can wait. I got to bed at 2:30 a.m., a vast improvement over the last few nights.

This is the last thing I read before bed last night, news of a Sacramento, CA morning talk-radio show's attack against transgender children that went so far as to advocate physical violence against them. It's unspeakably sick, the things these people were allowed to broadcast, and that their listeners are receptive, but then it's the same sick, hateful shit I've had to live through. The more I see...well...never mind. I've seen much too much in forty-five years, and it's left me with absolutely no tolerance for this sort of ignorant, inexcusable intolerance. GLAAD is watching these assholes now, and I'll be following the story.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Ice and rain in the night, but only rain Outside now, in that slushy grey Purgatory of winter. Tiny icicles hanging from the power lines. Rain falling on week-old snow.

Spooky spoke with my dentist yesterday, and the Bad Tooth is coming out tomorrow at 1 p.m. (CaST). So, I'll likely be in bed a day or two afterwards. But the pain will be gone.

I've been trying to find a piece for Sirenia Digest located at the place where cannibalism and tooth pain intersect. A ritual cannibalism, but one in which the devoured is a willing participant. Indeed, in which he or she is venerated in the act of being devoured. But, I've already touched on this very subject in both "Beatification" (Sirenia Digest #27, February 2008) and "The Bed of Appetite" (Sirenia Digest #23, October 2007). Of course, I can list five or six stories wherein Angela Carter worked through the "Little Red Riding Hood" theme. Also, I'm considering the possibilities of "Hansel and Gretal," and it's relevance to cannibalism. I'm trying to distract myself from the pain in my mouth, and all the worries about work that isn't getting done, and from thoughts of the dentist, with thoughts of willing feasts and aching teeth.

Most of yesterday is not worth repeating.

I should be making corrections to The Red Tree and working on it's epilogue. I should be working. Instead, I'm losing time that I cannot afford to lose, to a tooth that should have been pulled a year ago. I should be doing reserach for Joey Lafaye. Anyway, we have a couple of auctions ending tomorrow, and if you've not had a look at them, please do. Thank you.
greygirlbeast: (tentacles)
Today will be a Day of Assembly. All the parts that will come together to make up the whole of Sirenia Digest #37 are now here before me. I just have to make of them that single thing. Well, it's not quite as simple as it sounds, and always takes at least twice as long as I think it will. Nevertheless, the issue should go out to subscribers this evening.

Yesterday, I wrote a very decent 1,504 words and finished "Murder Ballad No. 5," which is a fairy tale (in the Charles Perrault sense, not in the diluted Brothers Grimm sense).

Bright sun and roaring wind today. There was maybe another half an inch of snow last night.

Spooky has posted photographs of Sméagol (née Linus) and Hubero doing what they do whenever they're not sleeping or eating, which is rather like watching a feline version of a kaiju film.

And here's the link to the current eBay auctions. And with that, let the process of Assembly commence.
greygirlbeast: (Illyria)
Booya! I just heard that the goddamned Xmas trees have vanished from Undercity and Silvermoon, so Shaharrazad's exile to the wilderness can at last be ended. I think I would have been less annoyed if Blizzard had admitted this was catering to Xmas, instead of trying to pass it off as something called "Winter's Veil."

Yesterday, I wrote 1,087 words on "Murder Ballad No. 5," but didn't find THE END. I came near, but began to feel that I would have to push to find it, and in pushing, would run the risk of ruining the whole thing. So, I'll finish it today. This is one of those stories that I realize I'm writing in response to the "good fairies/healing energy" idiots. I don't start out to write a response. I try not to even think of those people. But then it happens anyway. Ever since I heard about people at Faerieworld complaining because the organizers had chosen Rasputina to play, and the claims that Rasputina were spoiling the affair by releasing "dark" or "negative energy," and never mind all the fluffy-bunny fairy crap you have to see in so many witchcraft shops. Anyway, I'll finish it today, and we'll put Sirenia Digest #37 together tomorrow and send it out to subscribers tomorrow night.

The sun's shining, and the temperature is finally supposed to climb above freezing today. Maybe the snow will start to melt, though we do have snow showers forcast for today. Too bright Outside for my eyes, the sun off all that snow.

Last night, I helped Spooky fix our traditional New Year's Day dinner of black-eyed peas, collards, and macaroni and cheese. We both ate far too much. And there was WoW. And when I finally went to bed at three, there was insomnia. I got up and puttered about the house, then came online and posted my list of favourite films of 2008. I got back to bed about five, and managed to sleep almost seven hours, which is better than I've been doing.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We've added some of the new mass-market paperback editions of the novels. Also, you can see Spooky's latest work on Etsy. Thanks.

Time to write.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
This blasted tooth. I should be going to the dentist today to have it pulled, but likely it will be Monday. This is the tooth damaged in the big October '07 seizure that two dentists have tried, all year, to save. I can tell that it has finally abscessed. I do despise having teeth pulled. There is the most peculiar sense of violation.

I'm hardly awake now, and dreamsick. I woke from a dream of drowned meadows, of Spooky and I walking in a meadow or an orchard soon after a flood. A storm, near as I can recall. Sitting in my office, waiting for the dream to release me, I thought of flooded fairie meadows, "the Green Meadows of Enchantment" off Gresholm Island, near Wales, and "The Voyage of Bran Mac Febal":

Bran deems it a marvellous beauty
In his coracle across the clear sea:
While to me in my chariot from afar
It is a flowery plain on which he rides about.

What is a clear sea
For the prowed skiff in which Bran is,
That is a happy plain with profusion of flowers
To me from the chariot of two wheels.


The first thing that I noticed, walking in the wet grass, was that there were very large shrimps on the ground, tucked in between green blades. They were dead. Looking about us, I realized that the standing water was filled with dead sea life, and I recall seeing large crabs, sea cucumbers, lobsters, and anemones. I looked overhead, and crabs hung from the branches of a sodden tree. I pushed aside some of the grass and discovered several stranded jellyfish. My fingers brushed the whitish, translucent bell of one of them, and Spooky cautioned me about the stinging tentacles. I can't recall much more than this. The colours were so brilliant. The trees and grass so very green, and the colours of the sea creatures were very bright. And the light from the sky was muted, as though there were still clouds.

---

Bettie Page is gone. Which is...strange.

---

Yesterday, I finished with my revision of "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent" for The Very Best of the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. I won't say that I rewrote the story. Everything happens that happened before, and the events have all the same significance. But I did significantly reword it. In trying to explain why I felt compelled to make such revisions, I wondered what, precisely, motivated Kate Bush to record new vocals for "Wuthering Heights" before the release of The Whole Story in November 1986. The original version of the song was recorded in 1977, when she was 18. Nine years later, she re-recorded the vocal track, though not the instrumentals. I haven't looked about to see why she did this. It's probably in an interview somewhere. But I would imagine that, to her ear, the vocals had come to sound dated, and she knew she could do better. And, in my opinion, she did (I know many disagree). I much prefer the new vocals to the old, though I liked the old vocals quite a lot. In some ways, she created two very different songs. Anyway, all this was going through my head yesterday while I was working on the story.

Afterwards, I sent it to Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay), who'd kindly offered to read for typos. And then I signed the signature sheets for A is for Alien. And I made sure we had a bio from Vince for the book, as yesterday was absolutely the last day to get that sort of thing to subpress before the book goes to the printer. "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent" got one last proofing and was emailed to Steve Jones.

And that was yesterday.

Last night, two more episodes of Doctor Who, "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead." Together, they're the best of the series since "Blink." Steven Moffat wrote all three, of course, and I do wish he were writing all the series. "Forest of the Dead" actually managed (like "Blink") to transcend the inherent campiness of the show. There's some fine writing in that script. And later, Shaharrazad and Suraa waded about the Dustwallow Marsh and managed to reach Level 40. The strangest thing about the evening was that we dueled one another. Neither of us had ever dueled before. Suraa won once, and Shah won once. We seem to be pretty evenly matched, paladin and warlock, all the advantages and disadvantages balancing out. But I'm not sure I see the point of dueling. Anyway, yeah, Lvl 40. Guess I'm not a "noob" any longer.

I should repost this: I've not said much at all about the forthcoming trade paperback edition of Alabaster. The oversight hasn't been intentional. I think I have too many books to keep up with these days. Anyway, yes, there will be a trade paperback edition of Alabaster released in April 2009, which includes all the original Ted Naifeh illustrations. This will be my first tpb with subpress, so I am hoping that it does well for them. You may now pre-order.
greygirlbeast: (white)
After a standoffish beginning, Hubero and Linus seem to be making peace. Mostly, I think Hubero just wants to make it past all this getting-to-know-you-chit-chat and play. But Linus is not so sure of Hubero's intentions. And, so, a bit of new-cat stress.

Oftentimes, after the medium-bad to severe seizures, there's depression. It came on hard yesterday. The extreme cold temperatures did little to help.

Spooky and I had plans, to make a day of art galleries. We drove over to College Hill and started off with the Elizabeth King instillation at the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University. There's a story here. Years ago now, [livejournal.com profile] mellawyrden sent Spooky one of King's books, Attention's Loop (Harry N. Abrams, 1999). When I was working on the vignettes for Frog Toes and Tentacles, that book was part of the inspiration for "Ode to Katan Amano" (which will be reprinted in A is for Alien). Of all the pieces in FT&T, "Ode to Katan Amano" was probably my favourite (and still is), and I closed it with a quote from Elizabeth King. So, going to the show yesterday and seeing firsthand so much of her exquisite work displayed in this exhibit ("The Sizes of Things in the Mind's Eye"), it was sort of like closing a circle. It would be incorrect to say that she makes dolls, or puppets, or marionettes. I'm not sure how I would, personally, describe what she makes. The exhibit was beautiful, and I wish I'd taken the camera. It was a little disconcerting, like stumbling into part of the set of Blade Runner, maybe a museum of automaton evolution that wound up on the cutting-room floor. Sadly, I forgot the camera, but we are planning to see it again before the instillation ends on December 22nd.

We'd planned, next, to visit the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, just down the street. But, turns out, it's closed on Mondays. So, our day of galleries was suddenly cut short, and my day spiraled from there. Very little worth mentioning until after dark. I came home and napped. Or rather, I lay down and fell asleep for a while before dinner. Afterwards, we watched Speilberg's AI: Artificial Intelligence (1999), which we'd both seen only once, when it was in theatres. My opinion of it remains unchanged. It's both beautiful and brilliant, and certainly one of Speilberg's best. I think that it sounded a sour chord with a lot of people because, while it appears as an sf story (and, I would say, works well as sf), it's truly a fairy tale. Many things happen for fairy-tale reasons. Fairy-tale logic governs much of the film, and it strikes out, often, with all the cruelty and viciousness of the best fairy tales. I was very pleased that it's aged so well. However, this is probably not a film for the sort of sf reader/audience who actually thinks that science fiction is (or, at least "should" be) concerned mainly with science and predictions of the future of man and technology.

Later we played a bit of WoW, still out in the Arathi Highlands, and Shaharrazad and Surra both reached Level 37. Afterwards, Spooky read The Fellowship of the Ring aloud until we were too sleepy to continue.

But this black mood hangs on.

Someone wrote yesterday, via MySpace (where I don't reply to comments), wanting to know who Spooky is. To which I reply, she's my partner, Kathryn A. Pollnac, dollmaker and photographer. I thought everyone knew.

I should be getting back to work today, but I don't know whether or not it's going to happen. It may be all that I can do just to avoid going back to bed. The temps are a little warmer —— currently 29F, with a projected high of 44F —— and there's rain on the way. So maybe that will help. I don't know.

I leave you with this Louis C. K. clip, courtesy Blu, who snagged it from Monica Richards:

greygirlbeast: (blood)
Yesterday was not a good writing day. I can't say how many words I wrote, because I really don't know. Less than 500. I realised that what I'd written on Monday was not quite right, and that what I was writing yesterday was totally fucking wrong. So, since to me prologues are the place where the feel and voice of the whole book is established, so it must be right, I began rearranging words and sentences and tearing things apart. I suppose this is what most writers call rewriting a first draft. I call it not getting the damn thing right to start with. I have never before written a book like this book. Murder of Angels and Daughter of Hounds were bridges leading me here, but now the bridges are behind me and, to me, this is another place entirely, an undiscovered country. Truly a fairie tale. I did learn yesterday that the blonde woman sitting in the dinner by the sea is Níamh of the Golden Hair, Níamh Chinn Óir, daughter of Fand and Manannán mac Lir, and that the goblin who shows up is named Jackdaw Thumbknuckle. Those were the good things about the writing day yesterday. The rest I'd rather not revisit.

Today, I will begin again.

I'm thinking this will be a short entry.

It was actually sort of cold here yesterday. About 5 p.m. we started off on a walk, but I was in such a foul mood from having a lousy writing day, and the air was so nippy and there was so much wind, we didn't go very far. After dinner, I retreated into Second Life, and proceeded to pretend it would be a thousand years before I had to worry about the novel again.

It was a short thousand years.

Anyway, there's nothing for it but to slog on. That way lies THE END. I've been here many times before, and I know I can find my way. It only takes forever and patience and a few million keystrokes.
greygirlbeast: (new chi)
I've likely said this before, any number of times. But it bears repeating. If only it were possible to run some sort of cable from my brain directly to my laptop, then my dreams would take care of all the writing. I'm not sure anyone could or would read the results, but they would be much truer than any of the watered-down shit I write while awake. Which is to say, bad dreams this morning, worse than usual, and I slept late (almost 11 a.m.), which means they went on a few months longer than usual. I needed that sleep, though. I was awake until at least 3:30 a.m. this morning. But sleep comes at a price. Nothing's free.

Well, except for the air, and you've got to be out of your mind to breath the stuff they call "air" here in Atlanta.

I did finish "Untitled 23" yesterday, which is why Spooky let me sleep in this morning. I'm not yet certain how I feel about the piece. I knew it would be dark, but it came out several shades dimmer than I'd expected. All those people who eschew Fairie as anything but a realm of healing light and positive "energy" or whatever nonsense will do well to stay clear of this piece. This is my Fairie. I think you may have already glimpsed it, from this side of the mirror, in "La Peau Verte", but this time the view is from farther in, deeper down. It is a "fairy tale" in the classical sense, though hardly in the sanitized Victorian sense. I'm a little uneasy about sending this one out into the world. I say that now, knowing that it'll be right there in Sirenia Digest #10 and knowing, too, that most readers probably won't understand what all the fuss is about once they've read it. What frells with me will not necessarily frell with you. Anyway. Anyway. Anyway, yes, we'll read through the whole thing this afternoon, and I might tweak here and there. I do not know if I'm going to ask Vince to illustrate this one. Tomorrow, I'll begin work on the piece that Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) and I will be writing together, also for Sirenia Digest #10. I cannot presently recall whether or not it has a title yet. I think it might. She's written the first bit, and now I'm to write the second bit, and then it goes back to her, and so on and so forth until we find THE END together. I did only 477 words yesterday, but that was quite enough.

I'm not sure what I'll get done today. Already it's 12:31 p.m., and we have to get Hubero to the vet by 5 (just a check up, meet the vet sort of thing). And we have dinner with Byron at 7. And I'm nowhere near awake. If awake were Madagascar, I'd be somewhere in Polynesia just now, with all the Indian Ocean in-between.

Last night, Spooky and I watched Michael Winterbottom's Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story (2005) and found it quite entirely delightful. A fine comment on never getting to the point wrapped within a fine joke about losing one's way. Or something like that.

It has occurred to me that Joey LaFaye might be set in 1975. It's a strange revelation, but not one I'm shying away from. More later...

Postscript: This is frelling brilliant.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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