greygirlbeast: (Amano)
This question from day before yesterday, asked by [livejournal.com profile] subtlesttrap:

On an unrelated note, Wikipedia has Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart listed as another 2010 short fiction release, please tell me its true we get TWO collections from you this year!

Originally, that was the plan. However, it was a rough winter, and has, in some ways, become a rougher spring. I've not even really gotten the next novel started (and it's supposedly due in September). I'm only just barely managing to keep up with Sirenia Digest. I have two short stories due soon, one in late May, the other in July (I think). So, likely, Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be a 2011 book. At this rate, maybe late 2011. By the way, it will be the third (and probably last) of the small format erotica volumes, and will make a nice little triptych wiith Frog Toes and Tentacles and Tales from the Woeful Platypus. So, someone who does Wikipedia should probably amend that listing.

Day before yesterday, I managed to write only 788 words. Yesterday, a mere 473. However, yesterday's 473 got me to THE END of "Three Months, Three Scenes, With Snow," which will be included in Sirenia Digest #53. It's a quiet piece, a soft-spoken bit of the inexplicable. Also, yesterday I printed out the galley pages for "As Red as Red," which will soon be appearing in Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas' Haunted Legends, which I now need to proofread. I think the day seemed much more productive than it actually was.

And here's a reminder that Subterranean Press is still taking preorders for The Ammonite Violin & Others. Also, Spooky's beach-glass pendants have been selling briskly. You can see them at her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks.

---

Last night, after the new episode of Fringe, we watched Oren Peli's Paranormal Activity (2007). I went into it expecting nothing much at all, and was still disappointed. Yes, it has a few effective moments here and there, but in the end is a bit of a mess with nothing to make up for the general amateurishness of the effort. Neither Katie Featherston nor Micah Sloat have the acting chops required for their parts. Far too much is shown, things that should only be suggested. Indeed, the film's greatest flaw is probably its explicit disclosure, revelations that would have been better left unrevealed. All the lessons this film might have learned from The Blair Witch Project (which I continue to adore) were obviously ignored. So, yeah, I love the concept behind Paranormal Activity, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The Coen Bros.' A Serious Man is actually a better piece of weird fiction.

---

Rumour has it I will be in Boston tonight, for the Faith and the Muse show.

Creepy Doll

Oct. 2nd, 2009 12:00 pm
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
We've had our first real cold snap of the year, here in Providence.

My thanks to everyone who commented to yesterday's entry. I would have replied to more of the comments, but the entry itself left me somewhat wiped out, and I was more interested in seeing replies than saying anything more myself. Having written it, I felt an odd alloy of relief (that I have begun to realize just how dead the Old Way is, which makes me able to adapt) and despair (that the Old Way I was taught would work really is dead, so now I've had to adapt). I'll probably write a follow-up entry at some point. Just not today.

Yesterday was not productive. I sat at the keyboard all day, thinking about what I'd written, about what I'd read from others who are in the same predicament in which I find myself, about survival under the New Way, and it sort of locked me up. Today, I can't lock up. Today I have to finish tweaking the ms. for The Ammonite Violin & Others and get it to Subterranean Press. The signed contracts went out to subpress yesterday.

---

Yesterday, I read Tim Pratt's very flattering review of The Red Tree in the new issue (October) of Locus magazine. I will quote the last bit, as a fetish against all the pitfalls this Friday afternoon may hold in store for me, as a tonic to help get me through the day:

You may find your mind returning frequently to this tale, attempting to reconcile the irreconcilable, and you may find yourself, like me, bowing to Kiernan's artistry, and her ability to create Mystery. This is her most personal, ambitious, and accomplished work yet.

---

Escape Pod's reading of "Ode to Katan Amano" is now live. Please check it out. I sat and listened to it this morning, and I am very pleased with what I heard. This is the first time I've had a story adapted for a podcast, and I think it has encouraged me to pursue other such adaptations. Oh, and you get a bit of Daikaiju (who we actually got to see play in Atlanta years ago) and Jonathan Coulton's "Creepy Doll," as well. You'll also learn just a little about who Katan Amano was, and that pleases me, as well.

---

There's another new interview up, this one at Reflection's Edge Magazine. My thanks to Shennandoah Diaz.

Also, please have a look at Spooky's Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks, as she's getting lots of awesome new stuff up for Hallowe'en.

---

Last night, we streamed..well, lots of things. I'm watching too much and reading too little. But at least we're watching good stuff. We started with the final episode of Dead Like Me, then moved on to more Weeds, and then the Season Four premiere of Dexter, and then three more episodes of Weeds. I was going to make a pie, but decided I'd best wait until another night. I didn't get to sleep until almost four a.m.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Yesterday, I did 1,035 words on "Werewolf Smile," but did not find THE END. This one is determined to go on as long as ever it pleases, despite my own needs. I admit I feel a little lost in it, in the dark folds of this story. Last night, I read the whole thing aloud to Spooky, and she liked it, and it works far better than I thought. I also sent it to [livejournal.com profile] sovay and [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, for additional opinions. But it has to be finished today. I think I am developing a dread of the final scene.

Also yesterday. I agreed to do two short readings during this weekend's Fledgling Festival here in Providence, which is being held at the Perishable Theater on Empire Street. I'll be reading both Saturday and Sunday nights. Likely, it will be material from either Frog Toes and Tentacles or Tales from the Woeful Platypus. So, those of you who were asking about Providence appearances, well here's your first chance.

Frankly, the next few days are sort of terrifying to contemplate. I have to finish "Werewolf Smile," and then write a new vignette for Sirenia Digest #45. I have to do the readings this weekend, and an interview for Amazon.com. And I have to get Sirenia Digest #45 out to subscribers. Tuesday, I'm not doing anything, if I can still move by then.

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

Tonight, I hope to get in some work on the website, more evidence relating to The Red Tree.

Come on, platypus. We're burning daylight.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Waking much too early this morning, after getting to bed too late, waking to more snow. Snow over snow over snow. Deep stratifications of successive snowfalls. I sat in the big chair in the front parlour, surrounded on three sides by windows, watching the snow sifting down from the alabaster sky. Providence inside a paperweight, an ornamental snow globe, a cheap souvenir that is occasionally lifted and shaken. And I took this photograph:



Photograph Copyright © 2009 by Caitlín R. Kiernan


The words came yesterday. I did 1,079 words on "The Belated Burial," which sounds like an Edward Gorey tale, or maybe Lemony Snicket, but which is actually another nod to Poe. It's going to be a short one, a sort of pseudo-vignette, like many of the pieces that appear in Frog Toes and Tentacles and in Tales from the Woeful Platypus. It's a "yellow house" story. This month, Sirenia Digest subscribers get ghouls and vampires, changelings and whores.

The days must be shrinking, because I'm having much more trouble recalling anything about them to write here.

Last night, Spooky made chili, and we watched Anthony Leondis' Igor. The animation is nice, but, in the end, this is a film that misses the mark (whatever that mark might have been intended to be). Steve Buscemi's immortal, but suicidal, lab bunny is the best of it, though I think the best line was delivered by Sean Hayes' "Brain" character —— "He said do." Yeah, it was that sort of film. An okay way to pass an hour and twenty minutes last night, but I'm glad we didn't pay theatre prices. I had the sense that everyone was trying very, very hard, and the concept was interesting enough, but...no dice. The Tale of Despereaux remains my favourite animated film of 2008.

If you've not yet ordered A is for Alien, today is as good a time as any.

The words are waiting....but first, these lines seem perfect for the day:

It's so hard to tear myself away.
Even when you know it's over,
It's too much to say.
Banish all dismay,
Extinguish every sorrow.
If I'm lost, or I'm forgiven,
The birds will still be singing.
(Elvis Costello)
greygirlbeast: (white2)
As I said last night on my Facebook account, here we go again. My first New Year's Day in Providence. Spooky and I spent the evening quietly, at home, the way we spend almost every evening. I am, of course, getting ahead of myself.

This should begin with the snow. Or, no, it should begin with the insomnia. Night before last, I slept two hours, then woke at five ayem and didn't get back to bed until almost seven. Then I slept restlessly, in fits and starts, and woke around ten to discover it was snowing very, very hard. Somehow, neither Spooky nor I had known that the snow was coming. We managed to get dressed and out of the house before there was even coffee. I think it was the cold air that woke me. It was a windy, wet sort of snowstorm, very different than the one that came back on the 19th of December. We inched our way across Providence, over the river to College Hill, then on to Eastside Market for groceries, uncertain how long the storm would last. Visibility was down to about a hundred yards, at best. The sky and earth had become almost the same shade of white, divided one from the other only by an uneven rind of rooftops and tree limbs. We stopped at Dexter Training Grounds near the Armory, and I quickly took a few photos (below). The wind was too raw to stay out in it for long. I'm not sure how much snow fell here. East Providence got eight inches, and we likely did, as well.

By now, Sirenia Digest subscribers should have received an email from Spooky, informing them that #37 will be a couple of days late. I hate that. I hate when I'm late for or with anything. But between the unrelenting insomnia, the inclement weather, the tooth that still has not been pulled because the cough still has not ended, the pills for the tooth pain, the trouble I've had finding the stories for #37, and so forth, it was unavoidable. If all goes well, the digest should go out day after tomorrow.

I was not able to begin writing yesterday until sometime after two in the afternoon, and the snow was an enormous distraction. I suppose, when I have been here in New England for a few years, it will cease to be remarkable to me. Right now, I'm trying to savor the fact that it is remarkable. On Tuesday, in a sleep-deprived delirium, I'd written maybe four hundred words on a vignette to accompany the illustration Vince sent. Yesterday, I scrapped them all and started over. I wrote 1,141 words on something I'm presently calling "Murder Ballad No. 5." It's a fairy tale, in that literal sense that it is a tale about fairies. It's looking to be one of the short pieces, like the vignettes in Frog Toes and Tentacles and Tales from the Woeful Platypus. Over the years, working on the digest, I have found it no mean trick, keeping things short. Everything wants to sprawl.

Spooky sewed a corduroy bat, and listed some of her stuff on Etsy, which you may see here. Meet Orville and Jasper.

Last night, after fish and chips, we watched Paul McGuigan's Lucky Number Slevin (2006). I found it charming, smart, and entirely entertaining. Also, few films have ever managed to make such grand use of wallpaper as a means of setting mood. Sometimes, I think I could watch Bruce Willis floss his teeth and be entertained. Later, there was a little bit of WoW. There has been less WoW since Shah and Suraa made Level 50. Spooky and I both are feeling the need to cut back a bit. Last night, we played our alts, which means I played Shaharrazad's little sister, Hanifah, a blood elf paladin, and Spooky played Usiku, her Tauran shaman. We helped a demented undead alchemist concoct a toxin, then poisoned a puppy, and slaughtered humans in Hillsbrad and at an old watchtower southwest of Tarren Mills. Usiku reached Level 23, and Hanifah reached 25. When 2008 ended, we did what any pair of self-respecting nerds would do, which is to say, we exchanged virtual kisses. Tauran/blood elf love. There's gotta be a law against that somewhere. Anyway, we got to bed about three, and Spooky read me McCloskey's Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man (1963). And then I slept. The best night's sleep I've had in more than a week.

Now, I need to finish "Murder Ballad No. 5," and then I'm going to post my favourite films of 2008 list, and maybe even a favourite albums of 2008 list. Oh, and do please have a look at the current round of eBay. Bid if you are so disposed. Thanks. And thus begins my sixth year on LJ, and my eighth year of blogging.

The Last Day of Last Year )
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
Today, Elizabeth would have turned thirty eight.

There's a crazy wind blowing Outside. Buffeting the house. We have an advisory, which I suppose would be of some concern, were I a fisherwoman or an airplane pilot. Being only a writer, there is only the sound of the wind roaring around the house. Early this morning, as Spooky and I shuffled off to bed, it had begun to snow. But it was all melted by the time I awoke. Now there's only the sun and this wind, which sounds like some bizarre marriage of percussion and woodwind instruments. It is an anxious, uneasy sound.

Today and tomorrow, I will be writing the second piece for Sirenia Digest #37. When I got home from my doctor's appointment last night, Vince's illustration was waiting for me. I believe I'll be turning to the subject of necromancy (which, here, is a word that may have two meanings). Last time Vince and I turned the tables like this——me writing his illustration, rather than the other way round——I posted the image in the blog before I wrote the story. That was back in September. This time, I think I shall not. This time, it can be a surprise for the subscribers. Call me fickle. It wouldn't be the first time someone did.

This morning, my mind is clogged with half-remembered dreams, Radiohead lyrics, a lethargy born of less than six hours sleep, and probably a bit of dust, as well.

Last night, Shaharrazad and Suraa both made Level 50 in WoW. Booya. It only required a total of 8 days, 1 hour, 40 minutes, and 44 seconds of my life. Mostly, last night was spent in Un'Goro Crater, west of Tanaris. Several people had commented that they thought I'd love Un'Goro Crater. I think I was a little disappointed. It's not nearly as cool as Tanaris, not nearly as beautifully rendered an environment. Sort of Skull Island (with lots of goofy Land of the Lost references thrown in), filled with "dinosaurs" and apes and shiny, shiny crystals in painful neon colours. Many of the "dinosaurs" aren't. Aren't actually dinosaurs, that is. The "raptors" and other theropods are very nicely done, especially the big "devilsaur" tyrannosaurids. And the "Pterodax" aren't bad. Otherwise, we have more of the lumbering and vaguely stegosaur-like "stegodons" seen elsewhere in Azeroth and a bizarre mutation of basilisk that they're calling "Diemetradon" (clearly loosely inspired by the Permian-aged Dimetrodon, which, you'll note, isn't a dinosaur, but, rather, a pelycosaurian synapsid). Of course, my reactions and Shah's are not exactly the same. Still, Shaharrazad was aghast. The mud, the rain, the tar pits, the mold. She's of the opinion that even the desert was preferable. Even a desert overrun with goblins and humans and ogres. Shah is of the opinion that blood elves have no business wandering about swamps.

I can't seem to get my feet warm this morning, and I clearly need more coffee.

If you have not already, please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Especially Letter W from the lettered state of Frog Toes and Tentacles. It comes with a handmade "cozy," black velvet lined with red silk, a perfect match for the black leather and red foil design of the cover. We last offered these way back at the end of 2005, beginning of 2006, and it may be a long time before we offer them again. Probably at least not until after the release of the next volume of erotica, Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart.

And now I see that it's time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
The snow arrived yesterday afternoon about 2:30 p.m. (CaST). And it's still snowing, though big clumps now, that drift lazily about before settling on rooftops and power lines and sidewalks. Very different from the tiny crystals that started this storm, and that fell for at least twelve hours non-stop. I've not seen so much snow since the winters of '92 and '93, when freak winter storms pounded Birmingham, Alabama. And I'm not sure we got this much then. It just did more damage, as Birmingham was ill-equipped for such weather. It is so amazingly white outside. The sky is lying on the rooftops, which is oddly comforting. I don't know how much snow has fallen on Federal Hill, but I hear some parts of Rhode Island got as much as twelve inches. It will be a white Solstice this year.

I took photographs from the office window. They're larger than usual, because I was determined to show icicles.

No writing again yesterday. And that has to stop today or tomorrow. But the anticipation of the coming storm, and then the snow itself. How could I write through that? This will all become old hat to me soon enough. I want to keep these sights and sensations novel and delightful as long as I can. Though, there's an unexpected anxiety, too, a sort of smothering that seems to lurk at the edges of everything. I'm not claustrophobic, but I begin to guess that it's what eventually turns to "cabin fever." Everything is so white, and so close.

Yesterday, thanks to Ellen Datlow, I found out about Larry Fessenden's The Last Winter (2006). I'd missed this film, though I'm a great fan of two of Fessenden's earlier films, Habit (1996) and Wendigo (2001). I was less impressed by his earlier No Telling (1991), but we shouldn't be judged by our eary efforts. I have this ever increasing fear of being judged by Silk, and even Threshold, when my writing has matured so much since then that you'd hardly think my recent stories and Daughter of Hounds and The Red Tree were written by the same person who wrote those novels. I'm digressing, just like Sarah Crowe (you'll see, eventually). Anyway, The Last Winter is quite good. Here and there, the acting wobbles a bit (or the direction; you can never know which), and I sort of wish that we'd not seen so much of "the monsters" at the end. But they are damned creepy monsters. A great deal of this story was clearly inspired by Algernon Blackwood's "The Wendigo," turned towards the subject of global warming. The film is marvelously atmospheric, creating a mood of isolation and closeness and expectation that becomes almost unbearable at times. You can stream it from Netflix for free, so have a look. Though, maybe it's best not watched on a snowy day.

Later, we watched the first two episodes of Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks (1974), and then read more of The Historian. There was insomnia still later, inspired in part, I think, by the snow. It was sometime after 6 ayem and two Ambien before I managed to get to sleep.

At twilight yesterday we walked in the snow. Dexter Training Ground had been transformed into the interior of a snow globe. There was absolutely no distinction between sky and ground. The towers of the Armory were grey silhouettes against a deeper grey. There were ecstatic dogs, bounding about their people. By then, the snow was already quite deep, and already people were out shoveling. There was a hush laid over everything. No sound seemed to travel more than a few feet, excepting those sounds that seem to reach us, muffled, from very far away. It was beautiful. Spooky looked positively Cro-Magnon as her dreads collected snow.

This morning, I had my first cup of coffee in the front parlour, and watched a pair of seagulls soaring above the street. They were almost lost to view, or simply lost, against the alabaster sky.

Please take a peek at the current eBay auctions. It's heartening to see that Letter V of Frog Toes and Tentacles already has a bid. Thank you. New items will be added today or tomorrow.

Okay. Oh, I do apologize for spending part of yesterday butchering the French language via my Facebook account. Today, i think I'll butcher German. The photos are behind the cut:

December 20, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
The snow should begin in another half hour or so. I'm sitting here, sipping coffee, staring out my window, waiting. There are small birds out there, flittering busily about. At least, their flittering presents the illusion of business. The illusion or the impression. I appears we may be snowed in all weekend.

I have my pain pills, and coffee, and the peppermint Altoids that make the cough better. So, there you go.

I think this is the most exquisite bit of song lyric, from the Editors' "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" (probably, I've already quoted it in an earlier entry):

Pull the blindfold down,
So your eyes can't see.
Now, run as fast as you can,
Through this field of trees.


Those lines, they might be the first words whispered to the first woman by a sadistic god trying to explain what it will be like to live. Or they might be the mercy of a serial killer. They might only be a fraternity game. No, this isn't headed anywhere in particular. This day isn't headed anywhere in particular. Except for the snow.

I'm trying to find the first vignette for Sirenia Digest #37. I've been trying to think about cats, but keep coming back to vampires. I think it's the tongues. I have always thought that vampires would have rough tongues (and I wrote them that way in The Five of Cups). It just makes sense. Werewolves do not have rough tongues.

We went out for groceries yesterday afternoon, and I was amazed to see that, here in Providence, the first mention of snow does not lead to markets bereft of bread and milk.* And the cold Outside rendered everything so amazingly still. Even the cars on the road, though moving, seemed perfectly still. The river seemed still. I watched a woman sitting on a corner; she was smoking a cigarette, and even the smoke she exhaled seemed still. Few things are as ominous as this sort of pervasive stillness. But, it was peaceful, too. Ominous peace, I suppose. The sunlight was like spilled orange juice.

Last night, we read the first two chapters of The Historian, which I'm quite pleased with, so far.

Nice and much appreciated emails yesterday from a reader in New Hampshire and another in Roskilde, Denmark. The email from Roskilde came from Lars Ahn Pedersen, who knew the name of the woman who took the photographs for the Locus interview. Apparently, she's Amelia Beamer, which I should have remembered on my own. Oh, the New Hampshire email was from "Michael B in frozen Manchester." Everywhere, it's still.

I should wrap this up. Please do have a look at the current ebay auctions. Spooky has added Letter V of Frog Toes and Tentacles. The book comes in a handmade (by Spooky) crushed velvet "cozy," lined with red silk. Only a few of these cozies exist...maybe six...and we've not offered them since 2006, I think. We will likely offer only one or two in this round of auctions, and then there will be no more for a long time. Have a look. Bid if you are so disposed. Thanks.

Oh, and there's this peculiar jot of frippery:

Haiku2 for greygirlbeast
of the forsaken
it's good to me it's
very odd that i've
@
Created by Grahame


* Spooky just informed me the situation would have been different had we gone to Stop & Shop. So, never mind.
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: (white2)
Late last night, just after 2 ayem, a bad seizure. I was walking out of the bathroom, and then, a few minutes later, I was lying on the floor of the front parlor. When I could talk again, I asked Spooky if it was bad, and she said, "You've had worse." Small mercies. I went to bed not long afterwards and slept about eight and a half hours, which is more than I've slept at a stretch in ages. This morning, I'm sore and disoriented. I suspect I got a lot of bruises.

I cannot shake the feeling that my fits are something I should not be discussing publicly.

The sun is bright this morning, and the sky is that shade of blue. Terrific thunderstorms last night, hard rain and wind howling around the edges of the house.

Not much to say about yesterday. There was more line editing to be done than I'd expected, mostly pertaining to format. But now B is for Beginnings (the chapbook that comes free with the limited edition of A is for Alien) should be as "corrected" as it's going to get. I still need to go through the collection itself one more time, mostly looking for formatting errors. We read over what has been written on "Some Notes on an Unfinished Film," and Spooky likes it, and she says I should finish it. I sent it to [livejournal.com profile] sovay, who also says finish it. So, I suppose that I will. Part of me wants to set it aside (again), and write something much simpler for Sirenia Digest #35. A simpler narrative structure, I mean. After the decidedly not simple structure of The Red Tree, all those epistolary antics, my preference would be something along the lines of the vignettes from Frog Toes and Tentacles or Tales from the Woeful Platypus. But...here's this story already begun, and I'm already running late, and I don't really have any ideas at the ready for vignettes.

After the editing and reading yesterday, I read and rested, even managing a nap late in the afternoon. Spooky went out into the world and slew a wild pizza for dinner. I fretted about The Red Tree. It rained. Ba da pa pa.

I want to go back to bed, but the platypus says that's not an option.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Today was (and tonight is) as they say in Boston, wicked hot. I think it reached 96F or so, and, smart beast that I am, I contrived to spend most of the day strolling about with the sun blasting down upon my head. Which is to say, we drove down to Wickford in hopes of finding me a new walking stick before we leave for Readercon in the ayem.

My old stick —— which greatly helped, my lousy rotten feet being what they are —— was broken during the drive up from Atlanta to Providence. I should have picked one up when we were in Salem last month, where they were plentiful and cheap, because while I found a beautiful one in Wickford today —— carved like the figurehead of a ship —— it had a $200 price tag. Not that it wasn't worth $200; it certainly was. I just can afford to pay that right now. So, we wandered up and down Boston Neck Road, Brown Street, Phillips Street, all the shops, but no luck. The sun was a white demon in a pale blue sky (sort of a werewolf-coloured sky). We met a rather shy Irish wolfhound. I paused on the Wickford Bridge as the tide was flowing into the Cove and watched white geese and mallards and scores of tiny fish. Finally, heat addled, we headed back to the car about 4 p.m.

We swung by Warwick Mall on the way home, and people at the MAC counter at Macy's were very helpful, and I bought decent make-up for the first time in years. Among other things, I found a great limited-edition lipstick bearing the rather absurd (but appropriate to the afternoon) name "Dangerously Hot."

We stopped by the Dexter Training Ground to get our weekly CSA bag of produce. Good stuff this week: corn, peaches, tomatoes, summer squash, a salad mix, string beans, and a half dozen eggs. There was a vendor with fresh oysters and clams on ice, and I was sorely tempted.

So, yeah. We're almost ready to leave for Burlington. I'd forgotten how very annoying and expensive and time-consuming it is to be social. I still haven't decided what I'll be reading tomorrow afternoon. Probably something from To Charles Fort, with Love or A is for Alien. I really need to be pimping the latter. We shall see.

And I should mention the eBay auctions again. I should also pointed out that the copy of Alabaster comes with the "Highway 97" chapbook (a prequel to "Bainbridge"), and the copy of "To Charles Fort, With Love" comes with the Little Damned Book of Days chapbook.

Okay. Now a couple of photos from Wickford. A wonder the camera did not burst into flames:

Wickford July 17, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (moons books)
Yeah, after the lull, we're starting up the auctions again...it'll be a slow start, but there you go. Please have a look. Bid if you are so inclined. Right now, there are copies of Frog Toes and Tentacles (2005), Alabaster (2006), and To Charles Fort, With Love (2005). All books will be signed and personalized, if the winner so desires. All three of these anthologies sold out long ago and are presently out of print. All are starting off at their original cover price. Just click here to reach the auctions.

That is all.
greygirlbeast: (Doc10-2)
Yesterday, I did 1,265 words on the new werewolf vignette for Sirenia Digest #31, and finished it. It has a title now, "Unter den Augen des Mondes." And if there's some obvious error in my German, I hope someone here who is a native German speaker (I know we have several) will correct it. Thank you. I do like this piece. It is only 2,423 words long, but that's as long as it "wanted" to be, and feels a lot like the pieces in Frog Toes and Tentacles and Tales from the Woeful Platypus. It is the last piece of fiction I shall write in Atlanta. How weird is that?

Anyway, today will be my very last work day here, before the move to Providence next week. Counting today, we have eight days remaining until moving day. Well, except that eleven hours and forty-seven minutes of today have already passed. So, we have seven and a half days. About 180 hours. 10,800 minutes. Some 648,000 seconds. Except we lose tomorrow on a trip to Birmingham to see my doctor there. Six and a half days. The time has grown so short so quickly. Today, I'll work on getting Sirenia Digest #30 together, though I'm not precisely sure which day I'll be sending it out. I'm still waiting on Vince's artwork for "Rappaccini's Dragon." This month's issue will also include a new vignette by Sonya Taaffe ([livejournal.com profile] sovay), "The Mirror of Venus." Oh, and I probably haven't mentioned this, but Vince will also be providing interior illustrations for A is for Alien.

The packing is truly wearing us down. The house is a maze of boxes, a veritable labyrinth of cardboard. Now that all the books are packed, I've moved along to fossils and such. The truly tedious, time-consuming stuff. For example, last night I packed the Camarasaurus and Maiasaura peeblesorum skull casts. Tonight, many more fossils, my display trilobites and ammonites and Solnhofen specimens and such.

We got out of the maze yesterday evening long enough for a Thai dinner. And then, much later, we watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, in preparation for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which I hope we can take time to see on Friday. I'd not seen Temple of Doom since its initial theatrical release in 1984. Then I hated it, but I had some meager hope maybe it was not as bad as I recalled. But it is. There are a few good moments here and there, but, overall, it's a fairly ridiculous film. Somewhere after the plane's engines sputter and fail, the whole thing goes to crap. A huge part of it is the intolerably screechy Kate Capshaw. Gegh. But, though I could list many reasons this film fails as a "prequel" to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), the most important is simply that Temple of Doom presents us with a Dr. Jones who can accept (and use) supernatural forces. Can we really buy that after using those stones to defeat Mola Ram, that he doesn't accept even the possibility that the Ark possesses supernatural abilities? No, we can't. Well, I can't. It's just an awful, awful movie, and it's a shame that the second film in this series could not have followed the example of its predecessor, instead of delivering something that feels like a parody of Raiders. It's an eyesore, and I was completely justified in dismissing it all those years ago.

Oh, someone on my FL was asking about favourite Speilberg films. Mine would be Jaws, with Close Encounters of the Third Kind in second place.

Very late, we read the first chapter of the book I'm reviewing for Publisher's Weekly.
greygirlbeast: (new chi)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,080 words and finished "Flotsam." I am very, very pleased with the piece. It is possessed of the sort of economy and density I achieved in "Untitled 17" (in Frog Toes and Tentacles). It is a true vignette, a scene (though the narrator's mind wanders a bit in time), and it's so rare that I'm actually true to the original mission statement of Sirenia Digest.

In response to my request for comments regarding "Pickman's Other Model," I received a rather marvelous email from one Mr. Tim Huntley, who writes:

The lines from the Ovid in Part 3 drew me to thinking about transformation but also about the particular morphē that changes. What, for me, was particularly well written throughout "Pickman's Other Model (1929)" was the notion of change and development. I touch on nothing you didn't intend, I'm sure, but I find that there is an interesting development from the paintwork and photography of Lovecraft's own mode of revelation into the charcoal sketches and cinematic reels of the mode of grotesque revelation in your own piece.

The role of cinema is very well placed though. Having read
Sirenia Digest #28, I looked to some Lovecraft letters and found a Sept 1935 note where HPL bemoans missing a screening of Caligari. Yet cinema is a mode not in Mr Blackman's favour: he is a man of the theatre, favouring "living actors." As such your story gives rise to thinking on the oppositions of metamorphosis and body; of theatre and cinema. The performance one becomes gives way to what one is, a fixity surely put in question by any notion of acting. However, for all the doubt Mr Blackman casts on his own authorial veracity, Lily nonetheless casts him as "a persistent fellow such as you".

In short, "Pickman's Other Model" takes up the ways in which popular folk myth, cultural gossip, horrors, and memory endure. It takes them up and scatters them through a myriad of forms. (On a lighter note, dare I say that Thurber's presence at the screening ("Now, do you understand?") seems to have the hint of a nod to that moment in Landis'
An American Werewolf in London, where Kessler sits with Jack Goodman...) There was also an echo from your own work: I loved the ground that seems to stretch from the private arcane collection of Silas Desvernine in "Estate" to the corporeal arcanum of the Hounds' film. Between these two stories there was an interesting shift from introspective real estate to projected industrial product: the cinema film (played, nonetheless, underground by the Harvard Square collective). And the relaying of the Durand Drive events was superb – for me it was inlaid perfectly: like a miniature inset of "The Call of Cthulhu" part II.

Finally, I have to say, Lillian Margaret Snow is a splendidly defined ghost, shifting through the whole of the piece. "Pickman's Other Model (1929)" is a piece for which you should be proud.


Danke schön. Actually, though I do see your point about Jack Goodman, I think what was actually going through my head at the time was a line from Poe's "Hey Pretty" ("Do you get this gist of this song now?"), which, of course, leads back to Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves. Also, Sean writes:

I'd never read it ["Pickman's Model"] before with thoughts towards the unreliability of first person narration, but I think the points from your prolegomena are well taken. It did seem like Thurber was about to come off the rails completely before his account was finished. In that light, it seems perfectly logical that he might have later committed suicide. Your story did seem to leave one unanswered question though in regards to Thurber — what, if any, was the extent of his contact with Vera Endecott/Lillian Snow? Did he merely get the sketches from Pickman, or did they meet during the time she modeled for Pickman? What exactly was the final straw that broke his mind is also somewhat shady. Perhaps you left these things ambiguous on purpose and, in any case, the story didn't suffer for it.

To which I reply, I always try to leave as many questions unanswered as answered, and thinking on it now, answering your questions would make another good story (and no doubt lead to new questions, because this regression is infinite). Anyway, my thanks to Sean and Tim, both.

I'm taking the day off, going to the picture show with Spooky. There was a very small seizure late yesterday, the sort that is usually called "petit mal" or "absence" seizures, which mostly just leave me feeling odd for a few hours. But the insomnia and stress is piling up, so, yeah, a day off to try to get pointed to true north once more. But, first, these marvelous images, courtesy [livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest (behind the cut):

Farscape definitions )


*Just a word to the wise, from me to a certain "Tristan Pennell," should he actually be reading this (by way of the Dresden Dolls, of course).
greygirlbeast: (chi2)
Just wanted to remind everyone that two of our current eBay auctions will be ending early this evening. This includes the letter X of Tales from the Woeful Platypus, which comes with a beanie platypus sewn by my own two hands. Also, the auction for a copy of the trade hardback edition of Frog Toes and Tentacles will be ending. So, please have a look, and if you are of such an inclination, please bid. Proceeds will mostly be going to cover recent and ongoing medical bills (no insurance for this freelancer), so thanks to those who do bid.

Last night, we watched Nicolas Cage in Lee Tamahori's Next (2007), which is very, very loosely based upon Philip K. Dick's short story, "The Golden Man" (1954). I'd say it was, at most, suggested by Dick's story. Anyway, it wasn't great cinema, but it was an enjoyable film, possessed of a certain lopsided charm, which is more than can be said for Cage's two other recent genre outings, Ghostrider and the lamentable remake of The Wicker Man.

Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] scarletboi had this to say regarding [livejournal.com profile] anextropian's comments that writers should not and do not own their creations, and I feel like quoting it:

I've run across this ludicrous sort of denial before, the idea that we should not expect any sort of protection or recompense for the ideas that we, if not generate, at the very least aggregate. It has its roots in the hacker/hippy culture that brought us a lot of wonderful advances and horribly out-of-touch demagogues like Richard Stallman. The democratization of ideas is all well and good, until you realize that the signal-to-noise ratio has reached overload. In theory, the good writers and artists and musicians will rise to the top, wheat and chaff and all that...

But if you take the tack that "information wants to be free" means that there should be no copyright, no trademark, and that all media should be free to anyone who wants to enjoy it, then you have to accept that the quality of media will largely disintegrate. If an artist cannot rely on compensation for their work, two things are sure to happen: that artist will have to get another job, and will either stop creating art, or at the very least, they will not have the output they surely would have had if they could work at their art full-time.


Just five days left until Cephalopodmas. If anyone is feeling gifty and generous, here are links to my Amazon wishlist, and another link to Spooky's. What we really want is a modest harem of nubile young Asian cyborgs (all three genders welcome) with tentacle implants in just the right places...but, alas, I couldn't find any of those on Amazon.
greygirlbeast: (bluenareth)
I took two kava at about 3:45 a.m. and so managed to get seven hours uninterrupted sleep, but now I'm groggy and dragged out and can't quite get my eyes to focus. And I need to keep this shortish, because I slept too late.

A comment to Thursday's entry by [livejournal.com profile] sisyphusiren, who writes:

While I was reading Tales from the Woeful Platypus, I noticed a strong undercurrent of connection between sex, destruction of a more human created world, and (re)creation of a more natural one - or perhaps a breaking down of the barriers between. Specifically, I noticed this in "Daughter of Man, Mother of Wyrm" and "The Garden of Living Flowers," though I'm sure I could come up with more examples if I had the motivation to get out of my rolly chair and get the book. I was just wondering if this was conscious or subconscious intent on your part, or something more along the lines of the "relative reading" you mentioned before?

This time you're seeing something I've placed there consciously. Almost all the erotic fiction I've written has, to one degree or another, dealt directly with the subversion of body, mind, and (to a lesser extent) society by the invasion of the Other, the Uncanny. Which is very often the subject of my non-erotic writing, for that matter. In part, this simply follows from what I happen to find erotic. I have so many kinks, but I think they can all be placed beneath the umbrella of "transformation." But this recurring theme also arises from my thoughts on Cosmicism, the transitory nature of humanity, and the frisson that can be aroused by touching upon the common human fear or dread or secret and taboo longing for genuine transmutation. All material states are temporary, though most people spend their lives trying to believe otherwise. Flux is the rule. The reality of a continuum versus the illusion of discrete units of existence. That's where it's coming from. Forgive me if I'm not making much sense; I'm still trying to find wakefulness. Good question, though. And now that I think on it, this is, I suspect, why some people commenting upon the writing in Sirenia Digest and the two volumes of collected erotica have praised the writing, but noted that it isn't actually erotic (or isn't actually "erotica"). To which I can only reply, for me it is, very much so.

And yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] david_m_lemoine wrote:

What I love most about your sci-fi work is how it seems to not concern itself with the fact that it is sci-fi. The setting of the future is just another backdrop to tell a story, which makes the story all the more intriguing. It many cases, to me at least, it's like getting a glimpse into the actual future, like reading a fictional tale that just happened to be written by someone in the future. I like that quite a lot.

And my response to David was that this pretty much sums up my approach to sf. One reason so much of it fails to capture my interest is that often the author is actually writing about the science and the technology, creating fiction that's really not much more than gussied-up tech prOn. And I accept that some writers want to write this, and that some readers want their sf to be of this sort, but it's not what I do. I write stories about characters, and whether those characters are inhabiting a past, present, or future setting, they are the central focus. In the case of sf, they are not there arbitrarily, merely so that I have an excuse to expound upon this or that imagined future. So, yes, another good point.

Replying to good comments makes blogging ever so much easier.

As for yesterday, I began a new piece for Sirenia Digest #19, "The Steam Dancer," which is not only my first attempt at anything like a Western, it's also my first real attempt at alternate history or steampunk. The style is very stripped down. I did 1,107 words yesterday, and Spooky likes it a lot, which is usually a good sign. We had a nice walk yesterday, in between thunderstorms. The rain is badly needed here. We watched Hayashi Shigeyuki's Metoroporisu (2001) for a sort of pseudo-Kid Night film. Spooky had not seen it, and I'd only seen it twice. It is such a beautiful, brilliant film. Afterwards, I logged onto Second Life and did my stripper thing at Club insureXtion in Moolbora. I made $701 Lindens, which is a fair sight better than the night before. Thanks to the people who came out. But, at one point, I could not help but recall what Agent Smith says to Morpheus:

Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be...happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program, entire crops were lost. Some believed that we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world...But I believe, that as a species, human beings define their reality though misery and suffering.

And Milton, too: The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven.

Okay, and anyway, the writing awaits. I want to try to finish "The Steam Dancer" by Monday, because UPS left a CEM on my porch this morning while I was sleeping, courtesy my editor at HarperCollins, and I only have until the 19th to take care of that. I'm coming, platypus. Hold your horses...

Oh, and here's the link to the Silk auction.
greygirlbeast: (chi6)
Just a quick update to say that we've begun the second "choose your own letter" Frog Toes and Tentacles auction. The first was so successful, we figured it was better to go this route again, rtaher than putting a particular letter up for auction. The letter L is no longer available, but the auction page lists those letters which are. You also get a copy of the chapbook, False Starts. And, of course, the "cozy" with which to keep your book snug.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] robyn_ma for pointing me towards the cover of this week's issue of Time magazine. I do not take Time, nor do I usually read it, but I am impressed by this cover. The photograph seems very apt:

greygirlbeast: (chi5)
Blargh. I feel ooogy this morning. It is still morning, just barely. I slept, but the dreams. Let's have a Poe moment (Edgar Allan, not sister of Mark Z. D.): The dreams! The dreams! The acurs'd dreams! Okay, that was quite enough of that. One of the slivers of a fragment of a dream I recall was that I was living in a half burned-out mansion in New Orleans' Garden District, all alone, shut up like Merricat in this huge ruined house. And [livejournal.com profile] docbrite would leave me scraps from fabulous meals. She'd leave little aluminum foil swans on a pile of rubble where the back door had once been. There was a huge magnolia growing in the center of the house, and at night rats and possums and lizards would come out and dance round and round the tree to entertain me. I lived in a room on the second floor, and every time I looked out my window, the city was on fire. I kept thinking that it was my looking out the window that caused the fires, so I tried not to look. There was only one book in the whole house, William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch. It was a long, unsettling dream, more sad than it was anything else.

Anyway...

A good mail day yesterday. My comp copies of the hardbacks of both The Merewife and False Starts arrived. I'm especially pleased with the cover of the former. I'm not sure if subpress has any more of these for sale, but I'll be putting some up on eBay soon. Also, I received a copy of issue #35 of Not One of Us, courtesy John Benson. I did not however begin a new vignette. I stared at the blank screen until I was angry and useless. I'm not sure how it'll go today. I've got to begin proofing the ARC of Alabaster, and the artwork for "Night" is still waiting to be done. I suspect the former is much more urgent than the latter. I've heard from neither my agent nor editor re: Daughter of Hounds, and my anxiety is becoming something less benign. I did do a little Wikipedia yesterday, trying to delude myself into believing it was Work. I wrote an article on Sauropelta, yet another ankylosaur. Sauropelta means "shield lizard," of course. Oh, I also got word from subpress that Frog Toes and Tentacles has sold out. There may still be copies availlable from a few indie bookdealers. I don't know. I'll be offering copies of the trade edition on eBay at some point.

I was somewhat overwhelmed by all the comments yesterday's post elicited, the comments in response to what I'd written about the Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law. Thank you all. Even if I found myself disagreeing with much of what was said, it was still good to hear such a diversity of thought on the subjects.

A couple or three links. First, Spooky has a few shots up of the latest doll. I'm loving this one almost as much as I love Sweet William. We haven't a name for her yet, but I suspect she's a distant maiden aunt of Sweet Willliam's, and that they once worked in the same circus. She was a clairvoyant and fortune-teller. Of that I'm almost certain. A few folks have requested a story to accompany this doll. Maybe that's what I should do for the next vignette. Hmmmmm. Also, Spooky was showing me this very wonderful website, Blackbird Marmalade Creations. Some very sublime, beautiful, creepy things. Have a look. And, finally, Durtro Press will soon be releasing Thomas Ligotti's Teatro Grottesco, "primarily a compilation of stories collected between hardcovers for the first time. Each story has been newly revised, often extensively, by the author for this edition. In addition to the contents listed below, the Durtro edition also includes hitherto rare texts by Ligotti which will not be included in any future trade edition of this volume." Here's a link for details and ordering information.

[livejournal.com profile] sovay has asked if I would be comfortable posting the text to our Ostara ritual. I don't see why not. Personally, I think there's too much secrecy in Wicca, and that, more often than not, the secrecy only serves to perpetuate the misconceptions and bigotry. Besides, with the shelves of Borders crowded with craptastical farces like The Complete Idiot's Guide to Witchcraft and Wicca, with every fourth witch publishing her Book of Shadows or cranking out another Wiccan "bible," yeah, sure. So, here it is, behind the cut, for those with no interest in this sort of thing. It doesn't include the casting of the circle or the call to the Quarters, and I've omitted all the somatic actions and such. Note that I'm still not comfortable with all the wording, which gets back to the issue of gender polarity and other things:

Ostara )
greygirlbeast: (hogwarts)
Well, first off, I'm sorry that we haven't yet begun the letter "S" auction. Tomorrow, I promise. This one's to pay the gas bill, so please bid generously. I'll make an announcement here just as soon as the auction begins.

Nextly, Spooky and I have been on something of a Guy Maddin kick this week. We watched Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (1990) on Monday night, then Archangel (1997) last night. Tonight, it's Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary (2002). Someone described Twilight of the Ice Nymphs as the Gotterdammerung meet's Pee-Wee's Playhouse, which was surely as inept a comparison as ever I've read. The film is quite wonderfully surreal and dizzyingly colourful, however. Shelly Duval, Alice Krige, and Frank Gorshin make for a wonderful cast. But I loved the hauntingly black-and-white Archangel even more. There are curious elements uniting both films: wooden legs, lost husbands, fatherless children, mesmerism.

And I've been trying to catch up with news of things astronomical, such as the 2,175 mile-wide electrical storm rasging on Saturn. I was especially taken by the photo below, captured by the Cassini imaging system on January 27th, with the storm assuming a configuration eerily reminiscent of a Celtic triskele or triskelion. Charles Fort would appreciate the similarity, and Jung would appreciate that it's a bit of a "meaningful coincidence" for me. Regardless, it's an awesome, beautiful sight.



Also, click here for an astounding rotating composite infrared image of Titan, more of Cassini's handiwork. Note that, and I quote, Titan has numerous areas of light terrain with some large areas of dark terrain visible near the equator. Small areas of brightest terrain might arise from ice-volcanoes and have a high amount of reflective frozen water-ice. What fascinating worlds we are just beginning to glimpse, these mini-solar systems orbiting Jupiter and Saturn!

Okay. I was going to write about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but Spooky's calling me to dinner, so that shall have to wait until tomorrow morning. Did everyone get there copy of SD #3 okay?
greygirlbeast: (new chi)
[Poll #657796]

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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