greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
A wild, rainy early afternoon here in Providence. Rainy and warm (50˚F). I hear rumours it may be snowing in Nova Scotia. Regardless, I hardly slept "last night," despite quite a cocktail of psychotropics, as Monsieur Insomnia came to join the dance. I read The Dawn Seekers until six ayem, when I finally drifted off. My dreams are better left unspoken, but I understand Spooky spent part of her slumber being romanced by Walter Bishop.

No writing yesterday. Only the search for a story, one to replace "The Diamond Friendly" (now shelved). I think I may have found just such a story. Or, well, what might grow into a story. This is for Sirenia Digest #74, by the way. Though, there are many others waiting in the wings, even though I began turning down almost all short-story solicitations many months ago. Mostly due to my work with Dark Horse. Still, I have about half a dozen to write this year (not counting the digest), plus my essay for Chicks Dig Time Lords. I will admit, I'm still a little uncomfortable with the fact that lesbians and female transgenders were not covered under Chicks Dig Time Lords. Anyway, as soon as Sirenia Digest #74 is out, I'll begin Alabaster #5.

By the way, and by the by, Dark Horse Presents #9 will be released on February 22nd and will include an eight-page sneak preview of Alabaster. And only thirteen days after that, The Drowning Girl will be released. Do me a favour. Follow that link to the novel's Amazon.com page, and click "like," right there beneath my name. It can't hurt sales, and it might give me some idea how many people are still reading this blog. Thank you kindly. Anyway, I'll be spending a great deal of March and April (and probably May, and...) promoting both books, including an uncommon (for me) number of public appearances (TBA, and only in the Northeast, Manhattan to Boston). This will eat up even more writing time, as I cannot write and travel, though I know many others can. Plus, who knows what crud I'll contract, all that human contact. Howard Hughes is unaccustomed to the microbial life outside her plastic bubble of social sterility.

As for last night...well, too much...um, recreation. A nice bit of C18H21NO3, far too much Star Wars: The Old Republic (my Sith and my Jedi), Curiosity Cola, and other nonsense. I went to bed, finally, and read The Dawn Seekers, and didn't sleep...but we've already covered that part, haven't we? Ah, I also read "Re-description and evolutionary remarks on the Patagonian horned turtle Niolamia argentina Ameghino, 1899 (Testudinata, Meiolaniidae)" is the most recent JVP.

My thanks to whoever sent me the new Penguin Classics The White People and Other Weird Stories by Arthur Machen, along with Franz Wright's Kindertotenwald.

Somewhere Near Awake,
Aunt Beast

Postscript: I don't have a lot of favourite designers, but...I just got the news that one of them, Eiko Ishioka, has died...and...fuck.
greygirlbeast: (Aeryn and Pilot)
00. I'm not feeling very bow tie this afternoon. Comments would be nice.

01. Yesterday there was email, and Subterranean Press needed some stuff from me for The Yellow Book, which, you may recall, is the FREE hardcover chapbook that accompanies the limited edition (but not the trade) of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Little odds and ends, nothing major. And I was still waiting to hear from an editor, so I proposed to Spooky that we proceed with a long, long delayed office renovation. We spent about an hour moving a shelf and books and stuff, then spent two hours realizing that the table we wanted to put in my office would never fit (this involved Spooky calling her Mom in South County to remeasure Spooky's sister Steph's old table out in the barn). Nope. No dice. So, I have resigned myself to being stuck in an office even smaller than my last (Mansfield Avenue, Atlanta, GA), which was, at best, a third as large as my office before that (Kirkwood Lofts, Atlanta, GA). A few years from now, at this rate, they'll have me writing in a restroom stall. Ah, well. At least then I'll never have an excuse to stand up. Anyway, in the end (no pun intended), yesterday was mostly a sadly and exhausting wasted day. Though, I did leave the house for the first time in five or six days.

02. In list of weird books to give the weird people in your lives for the holidays (that would be Solstice and/or Cephalopodmas), Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, over at the Weird Fiction Review website (virtual sister of the Centipede Press print digest of the same name), in their listing Two Worlds and In Between, write:

Standing as one member of the Triad of Infernal Weird – the three who clearly have signed pacts with demons to keep the quality of their story forever elevated – that also includes Thomas Ligotti and Michael Cisco, Kiernan has emerged since the 1990s as a master of the weird tale.

Clearly, we haven't been keeping those meetings secret enough. Regardless, the VanderMeers strongly recommend the book ("This collection from Subterranean only confirms her brilliance."), along with several other very wonderfully weird titles (kittens, the word horror, when used to denote a literary genre, is so very not bow tie; parentheses are, though – trust me).

03. Today will be spent writing a very whimsical piece for Sirenia Digest #73, "The Lost Language of Littoral Mollusca and Crustacea." Think Victorian flower language (id est, floriography) and you're halfway there. I intend to enjoy writing this.

04. A point of etiquette (unless you happen to wish to seem a douchebag):

a) When a kerfuffle is made over a company publicly insulting transgender persons, and there is outrage, and said company wisely apologizes (though, note, I don't consider an apology an exoneration), and a somewhat prominent transgender author notes that at least this is evidence that change is coming, even if it's coming very, very slowly, do not

b) post in that authors' Facebook that, while you sympathize, you also find the insult funny, and then

c) when said author explains why it's not fucking funny do not

d) dig in your heels and go on about how some people take themselves too seriously, or

e) you will find yourself banned from that author's Facebook, Matthew Baker. Because admitting that you find a joke at the expense of transgender people funny, but also understanding it hurts them, but you still find it funny, makes you a hateful and transphobic (here's that word again) douchebag. I'll not dwell on the coincidences that you are also male, white, and cisgender. Also, definitely do NOT begin emailing the author afterwards to call them names, because then you'll have graduated from douchebag to troll.

05. Last night, after sandwiches from the Eastside Market deli, we watched Scott Crocker's documentary on the mistaken resurrection of the (almost certainly) extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), Ghost Bird, with music by the amazing Zoë Keating. Ghost Bird is an exquisite film, not only because it documents this episode in the history of humanity's thoughtless elimination of other species, but because it serves as a case study of how science works: the theory, the methodology, responsibility, the politics, publishing, personal conflicts, and the perils of wishful thinking. See it; for the moment it can be streamed from Netflix.

After the film, there was Rift (which is to say, my social life), and Indus reached Level 40 (only ten to go). Then I read a rather good story by Ramsay Campbell, "Getting It Wrong," who needs no one to tell him how the Plight of Family X can, and usually does, make for a truly dull story. By the way, one day soon, I'll explain why several books, including Danielewski's House of Leaves, Anne River Siddons' The House Next Door, my own The Red Tree, and a few others, emphatically do not fall into the dreaded subgenre trap of "Family X Move Into the Bad House and Have Their Normative Domestic Bliss Wrecked by an Inconvenient Intrusion from Outside." The answer is surprisingly simple, though extraordinarily complex.

And now, the words.

Simply Complex and Complexly Simple,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (3:34 p.m.): Word from my editor at Penguin that the final and corrected cover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
I'm sitting here composing, in my head, a Tom Waits song that Tom Waits will never compose, much less record. But it's about not sending "wish you were here" postcards to nightmares.

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

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

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

---

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

---

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beast on Location )
greygirlbeast: (white)
I think I have decided. Yes, I think I have. I shall not miss making an entry – at least one (1) LJ entry per day – between February 13, 2011 and February 13, 2012. Hell, that's only five and a half months.

---

A couple of quick links. First, in case you've not heard, the Lambda Literary Awards have gone fascist bullshit on us. Me, I've always been suspect of Lambda. I mean, come on. I've only been nominated once in almost twenty years! Anyway, no, seriously. Here's Rose Fox's response ([livejournal.com profile] rosefox) , which is very good, and I'll try to add my own comments on this situation later. I will say that until/unless this is rectified, if by some freak chance I were to be to be nominated, I would decline the nomination, and would urge all other authors to do likewise.

Greer Gilman ([livejournal.com profile] nineweaving) has insightful and interesting things to say on ebooks and ebook readers. I've yet to progress beyond audiobooks, though many of my books are available in various ebook formats (including illegal p2p files, but hey, we writers roll in the dough, don't we?). Still, I found Greer's comments enlightening and amusing. Maybe, when I get an iPad (it's become inevitable), I'll give iBooks a try.

---

Oh, I should note that [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus is a frakking genius, and has cracked the problem of the identity of X project. Alas, I should have known the secret could not stay secret forever. Last night he asked "Is the X-project related to the SGSC news...[?]" Wow. Dude. You figured it out. Yes, I am now working for the SGSC, better known as the Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium.

---

Yesterday, I spent many hours on X, which isn't a very satisfying report I know. I will say, it required that I write 1,690 words. That doesn't really make it any more interesting does it?

I also spoke with Subterranean Press some about Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. The story that was originally "Untitled 31" will appear in the collection as "Subterraneus," and the story originally titled "Untitled 33" will appear as “Fecunditatum.” Yeah, I was in a Latin sort of mood. However, "Untitled Grostesquerie" will appeared as "Untitled Grostesquerie." Also, I'm told that Two Worlds and In Between is at the printer, and should be out sometime next month.

Today, I begin work on a new Mars story for Sirenia Digest #69.

Oh, and I have discovered I am the oldest emo teenager on earth. Go me! Meanwhile, there was some very good Insilico RP last night, but, turns out, Grendel's more fucked over than she ever had been before. Also, though I love Joseph Campbell, do NOT follow your bliss, not if it leads you to attempt something you suck at; follow your actual abilities, and fuck your bliss, if it leads you to create dreck. And, with that, I must away. And remember, don't make me have to get all honey badger on your ass.

Wistful,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (tilda)
Sometimes, there is no need for words, but and still...

"I would rather be handsome, as he is, for an hour than pretty for a week.”
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Here in Rhode Island, we're having a marvelous April.

So, I have long been an admirer of the awesomeness of [livejournal.com profile] coilhouse, but, of late, they've been dropping these "(trigger warning!)" PSAs into lots of their posts. What the fuck, guys? To start with, this is fucking Coilhouse, home of the weird, brash, and bold. And secondly, when the hell did sudden, unexpected emotional responses that resonate deeply because of traumatic personal experiences become a Bad Thing that one should be warned against? And – no shit – I say this as someone who's struggled with severe PTSD since before it was a goddamn acronym and who's still medicated for it. And yet, here I am, the personification of TRIGGERING, the very idea of TRIGGERING MADE FLESH. Has the concept of catharsis passed from the world? I can't help but suspect that [livejournal.com profile] coilhouse has bowed to the pressure of the Whiners. Butch up, people. There is no fucking shelter from the storm. Worse still, the storm has only just begun.

I will not be a member of the congregation of the Church of Protect Me From That Which Might Make Me Cry.

Yeah, another grumpy day.

But I have to get over it, because tomorrow is Spooky's birthday, and I think I'm going to be in Boston on Saturday evening...so...maybe the Good Fairies of Sunshine and Pink-Pony Cupcake Sprinkles will show up and pull some cheer forth from my ass in time to save the day.

---

Yesterday was spent editing Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, answering email, sending email, waiting on email, and not much else. Today, I begin a vignette for Sirenia Digest #67. It's all in my head.

My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59 for making sure I got a copy of Publisher's Weekly 258/24, in which Two Worlds and In Between not only received a starred review, but appeared on the Table of Contents page as their "pick of the week." It really is amazing, holding that in my hands, seeing the final version of Lee Moyer's cover in color. So, thank you, [livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59.

So few people would ever guess that "Houses Under the Sea" was inspired by R.E.M.'s song "Belong." And that just goes to show you how useful expectations can be. "Oh, that story was inspired by Lovecraft!" Well, actually...

---

Okay, here's another one to help me purge the angrification gremlins. If you're running a writer's conference at a well-respected liberal-arts college some 70 miles from my home (and that's as the crow flies, so it probably more like 125 miles), because you want me on ONE panel, then you're going to have to offer me a hell of a lot more than lunch and breakfast. Like an honorarium, and travel expenses, and a hotel room. Offer me those, and I might think about it. Maybe. It's nice to be asked, yes, but it's rude to put someone (a freelancer, at that) in the position of having to say no to what only seems like an honor, in a world where gas is edging towards four dollars a gallon. And ys, I appreciate the conference doesn't have a lot of money, but that's not my problem.

Hold on...be back in a second. Spooky is channeling her inner australopithicine. No, really. Monkey noises.

---

Round 3 of the Big Damn eBay Auction has begun. Right here. Please bid if you are able and interested! Thankses, Precious.

---

Last night, we made up for the lousy Hal Hartley film by watching Terrence Malick's impressive debut feature, Badlands (1973). Somehow, I'd never seen it before. Then there was Rift, and the blowback from the Big Patch, 1.3, which has loads of cool shit, but they messed up guild vaults, so we still don't have one, and all the talent trees were reset. Still, we managed a very good rp scene in the Spire of Orphiel. Later, Spooky read aloud from Junky, and then I read back over "The Maltese Unicorn," in Supernatural Noir. I really am exceptionally happy with this story, and thankful I was given a chance to write it. Now, I proceed to the other tales in the book!

Oh....here's something interesting at NPR: The End Of Gender?.

Ambiguously,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
The humidity is so high in this house I think the walls are about the begin dripping. I believe I can wring water from my socks.

I was dreaming of a life in a city, a filthy 20th-century city that had grown ancient and mean. Cruel, this city. Staircases that rose and descended forever, towards attics that could never be gained, and basements where no one ever dared go. The city, which was rotting, abutted the sea, which was rotten. I swam in water the color of strong tea, and there was a very large shark that swam past me. I photographed it. Among all those decaying tenements there was a sanitarium, or asylum, that seemed to have grown between and through many of the other buildings like a parasitic organism. My head ached, as if my head had always ached. Paranoia. Climbing and descending stairs. The certainty of being pursued, whether pursuers were in evidence or not. NecroNoir. A whole world in dead shades of brown and grey. The camera with the shark photograph on it lost, and a desperate hunt for it, as, somehow, the proof of my sanity rested with the proof of the shark. Windows looking out over sagging rooftops. Never anything to the sky but clouds.

I wish I could remember more, because there was a lot more. But I'm glad I can't remember more.

There's a shark shaped fin
In the water of my dreams.
Alligator screams from the depths there
I'd swim with you there...


---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,894 words and finished "Figurehead," which will appear in Sirenia Digest #67, which should be out on (or before) the 5th of June. When I was done with the story, I sent it to [livejournal.com profile] sovay, who brought up the relevance of passages from Ovid's Metamorphoses (1.125 — 134). I read a lot of Ovid long ago in college, but most of it's only echoes now. Sometimes, in need of inspiration*, I go back to the Metamorphoses (which is likely obvious). Anyway, she pointed me to a passage that was so alike to the theme of "Figurehead" that I felt the unnerving sensation of experiencing inspiration after the fact:

A third generation followed them, of bronze
and more savage by nature, readier with harsh arms,
yet not wicked; of hard iron was the very last.
All at once there broke into the age of baser ore
every wrong — shame and truth and loyalty fled
and in their place came trickery and deceit
and treachery and force and the wicked love of having.
The seaman spread his sails to the winds he did not yet
understand, and what had stood long on high mountains
now tossed as keels on unknown waves...


If you take the digest, you see what I mean. If you don't, you won't.

Last night, we played far too much Rift, fighting an endless series of invasions and rifts outside the Chancel of Labors and Whitefall, as Iron Pine suffered multiple air rifts and invasions by the minions of the dragon Crucia. Then, after Selwyn returned to Meridian, there was some very good rp on the cliffs north of Lakeside, looking out over the sea. Via a very strange turn of events, I find myself, for the first time ever, rping an essentially transgender character. Sort of an Orlando thing going on, only with a Kelari, instead of Tilda Swinton (Selwyn, though, I must say, is at least as hot at Tilda Swinton, even if she's only pixels). It all ended with Selwyn following Celinn across the burning wastes of Droughtlands to the refuge of Lantern Hook...which is essentially a Fremen sietch, straight from the pages of Dune. And I will remind you: We have a guild. Here. And you can play with us. And there's a FREE 7-day trial.

Today, Spooky has to get new tires for the automobile, and I have to write another (this time short) vignette for the digest.

And I leave you with Hubero:

29 May 2011 )


* A short, partial list of other authors I often turn to for inspiration: Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, T. S. Eliot, Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Matthew Arnold, W. B. Yeats, Angela Carter, William Gibson, William Blake, Anne Sexton, Joseph Campbell.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I used to write,
I used to write letters. I used to sign my name.
I used to sleep at night,
Before the flashing lights settled deep in my brain.

But by the time we met,
By the time we met the times had already changed...
(Arcade Fire)

No, nothing special. Just sort of where I am right now. But, have you noticed? I mean, how it's much easier to find people with insomnia than without? See, it didn't used to be that way. I remember.

---

Yesterday was an assembly day, as I predicted. And Sirenia Digest #65 has gone out to subscribers. I very much hope you enjoy the issue. Thanks again to everyone who answered the most recent Question @ Hand.

Today, I need to do a small bit of editing/reworking on "Fake Plastic Trees," following questions from the editors. And I need to finish the updated FAQ for the new Sirenia Digest page. And answer email. And just maybe have energy left to start thinking hard about the two projects that need to be consuming May.

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

---

For months now I've been pondering something I usually call "virtual transgenderism." I started thinking about it a lot right after I started playing City of Heroes back in October (I stopped playing in January or so, for various reasons). I was part of a very good rp group, and most of the characters were ostensibly female. But after about two weeks, I put two and two and four and six together and, with a little help from people who'd been playing for years, realized that almost every one of our "female" players were guys, including lots of guys in the military. Like, you know, GUYS. At first, I was sort of baffled, the way you're baffled when someone plays an especially clever joke on you. But then, then I thought, "Hey, this is really fucking cool." And I thought that because, you see, all these guys were very good a playing women. All sorts of women (most of whom just happened to have super powers), from insecure, nerdy twenty-somethings to smugly confident queens of Faerie. They weren't playing caricatures of women. They were playing women. I was amazed.

See, I can be naive and slow on the uptake. I'm old. When I was in my twenties, we had video arcades with shit like Galaga and Joust and Pac-Man, coin slots and joysticks. We didn't have gaming technology that allowed people to, virtually, become other people. People of other sexes, genders, sexual orientation, races, species, etc. So, it takes some getting used to. But, of course, a large number of the female characters in WoW and Rift are male, and, I'm willing to bet this is true of all MMORPGS. On Second Life, I'm pretty sure 95% of women are actually men. And I'm sure a lot of this is simply guys who think their chick toons are hot and a lot more interesting – but, even then, we still have teenage boys and grown men playing with virtual paper dolls. Many of these guys, though, they're acting out female characters. I just think it's very cool. I think it's a step in the right direction. Maybe a very small step, but a step, all the same. It says something if guys can get together online and openly pretend to be girls. Last night on Rift I was thinking, It's like Fight Club for the trans-curious. This is why it's called roleplaying. You play a role that is not you. You step into someone else's shoes and look through their eyes.

I'm not even going to get started on how this leads to guys' female toons hitting up other guys' female toons (or male toons hitting up "female" toons) for erotic rp. Someone needs to write a Masters Dissertation. Actually, I'm sure several people have already done so.

Anyway, yes. I wholeheartedly approve. I also approve of the women playing virtual males, though I suspect that's a rarer phenomenon.

---

I think I might have given the wrong impression when I started this Aunt Beast's Book Club thing. I don't expect people to read these books on pain of public humiliation or something of that sort. These are just books I want to promote. And, too, it's a way to push myself to finish novels I start. That's all. No one needs to explain to me why he or she isn't reading one of the selections. It's entirely and utterly casual, optional, and so forth.

Over and Out,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
It's Friday, kittens. Comment, as evidence that LJ isn't about to fade away.

A beautiful, beautiful sunny day out there. But I will be "good," and not run away to the seashore when I ought to be writing. My window's open, and for now that's just going to have to suffice.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,517 words on a new piece, for Sirenia Digest #65, "The Carnival is Dead and Gone." It sort of feels like it's happening in the same near future Manhattan as "A Season of Broken Dolls," and was inspired by all the talk about sideshows and freaks. So, a very good writing day. May there be another today.

---

I was just reading yesterday's [livejournal.com profile] coilhouse report on the assault of transwoman Chrissy Lee Polis and its aftermath. On the one hand, it's heartening to know that "Over 135,000 people have signed a petition demanding that the McDonald’s Corporation holds its employees accountable for the assault." And seeing hundreds of people show up for an anti-hate rally outside the MacDonalds where the attack occurred, that doesn't hurt, either. However, as the [livejournal.com profile] coilhouse article notes:

"Coverage of the story on the web has been as painful to watch as the footage itself. It was awful to witness the first wave of discussion, which appeared almost exclusively on white supremacist blogs, with transphobia piling on top of racism as details about Polis’ identity emerged. It was painful to watch mainstream, high-traffic blogs use the word 'tranny' in their coverage (the best example of this being, if memory serves correctly, Time-Warner-owned blog Smoking Gun, though their posts appear to have now been scrubbed of the slur). And it was painful to watch Polis’ own twin brother continually refer to her as 'my brother' and pointedly use male gender pronouns at her support rally. All around, a damning look at the country’s state of gender awareness, or lack thereof."

Lots of people aren't going to understand that thing about tranny. But just imagine Smoking Gun using words like nigger and faggot in articles reporting violations of African American and gay male rights. Yeah, it's like that. Doesn't mean you won't hear it used by transgender people, but...well, I'm going to assume I don't have to explain how an oppressed minority reclaims or appropriates denigrating language and, in so doing, gains strength from a thing that was meant to cause them harm.

---

Last night, we watched Robert Rodriguez' Machete (2010). We've actually had that particular Netflix envelope, unopened, since early February (!!!). Mostly, I was afraid that what made a very funny 30-second faux movie trailer couldn't be sustained for 105 minutes. But, I was wrong to worry, I'm happy to say. And fuck all, but Michelle Rodriguez just keeps getting hotter and hotter.

Later, Spooky and I finished reading Markus Zusak's The Book Thief. And what a brilliant and beautiful novel it is. Truly and genuinely. I'm lousy commenting on books, because I usually find myself relying on words that come off trite and come nowhere near expressing how I actually feel. Just because someone can write a book doesn't mean she can review or commentate on a book. It took me a while to figure that out. Regardless, yes, if you didn't read this one for the AB Book Club, please get around to it eventually. I struggle every day to achieve such simple, splendid poignancy as Zusak displays in this novel, and I think I've never yet come anywhere close. So, buy a copy or get it from the library. Listen to the audiobook. If you must, read it on your Kindle (shudder). Just read it.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
At the moment, I'm just a tiny bit more disgusted with humanity than usual. Well, generalizations are never fair, but there you go. And a new word is needed, what with humanity's default setting seeming to be rather inhumane.

More "good" people than "bad" people?

Really?

You think?

Oh, yeah. Right. Easter fucking Sunday.

Were you in church this morning, Vernon Hackett?

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,181 words, and finished "Fake Plastic Trees," and today I'll send it to the book's editor.

It's warm today. I should be Outside.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
The subject line above sort of squiggled out of my brainmeats just now. It's something left unexpressed in my all night conversation with [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, which ended only as the sun was rising. I do hate sunrise, which is odd, because I didn't used to hate sunrise. There was a time I loved the sight, and it meant nothing more than that the sun was rising. I think it's come to mean, instead, a failure to find the nocturnal sleep of Good Christian Folk. But yes, Geoffrey visited last night. We ate calzones and talked. Mostly, we talked. About books and writing and publishing, drugs and sex and movies, cults and magick and whether or not the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn would turn me away (that's not the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, of course, not 1888 to 1908, but the New and Improved Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn). Towards the end, it all became a blur, but I assume he has returned safely to Framingham.

Gloomy out there. Gloomy and wet. Same as yesterday.

Yesterday.

I think the only work I actually accomplished was of the email variety. I think. Yeah, I'm pretty sure of that. My piercing appointment was at 5 p.m., and before then I went with Spooky, out into the drizzle, to the pharmacy (to get my new meds) and then the vet (to get Sméagol's meds). As for the piercing, that part went very, very well. If you're in the Providence area, and I strongly recommend RockStar Body Piercing. It's very probably the most positive experience I've ever had with piercing. My labret had closed, and had to be repierced, and both my ears were pierced again, because the lowermost holes weren't centered quite right for stretching. I've begun with six-gauge glass plugs, and within a year or so I should be up to the 5/8th of an inch plugs I'm aiming for (about the width of a nickel). It's nice having the labret back. It's my original 1995 labret, not the one I wore for a while later on, beginning on March 5, 2006. As soon as Jef was done with my lip, he asked, "How does it feel?" And I replied, "Nostalgic."

Afterwards, Spooky got some new shoes, and I tried on a pair of boots that I love, but can't possibly presently afford. Spooky says of her new shoes, "I like my new shoes. And they have hot pink on them. Which is a masculine color."

She's such a fucking butch.

The editor for whom I'm writing "Fake Plastic Trees" loves the Story Thus Far, so I have to get back to work on that immediately. I need to speak with my agent this evening, because I seem to have a plan. Which is sort of new for me.

Cold Spring is reluctantly giving way to Spring. Many of the trees are showing a spray of green, and flowers are opening. I heave a twice hourly sigh of relief.

This morning, I slept seven hours, and it was some of the best sleep I've had in weeks. Not perfect. There were the nightmares, and they were bad. But, still, better sleep.

This entry's sort of a muddle, kittens. Yesterday was actually a pretty decent day, as my days go. You'd think I could have made a better entry of it. Alas.

Freshly Perforated,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
On Monday, I learned that "As Red As Red" has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, as has the anthology in which it was published, Ellen Datlow's Haunted Legends (Tor).

---

No work yesterday, aside from email. No good excuse. The words were in my head, and the deadlines are pressing in about me. Still, I fucked off to nowhere in particular. Spooky got back from the mechanic (the bill was bad, but less than expected, and we're pretending that faulty crankshaft will last forever), and I realized that I'd not left the house since Sunday. So, I tagged along while Spooky ran assorted errands. For a while, the sun was warm on my face, and there were the first hints of green, and, here and there, blooming things. All traces of motivation and enthusiasm, enthusiasm for anything at all, faded from me. I dozed in the van. I looked through the windows at the shadows along Benefit Street. I ate a handful of jelly beans. On the way home, we stopped at Acme Video (but I'm coming to that).

---

Last night, we watched Let Me In, Matt Reeves' remake of Tomas Alfredson's Låt den rätte komma in, which, of course, was adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel of the same title. I avoided Reeves' film in the theater, which seemed like the best course of action. I couldn't see the point of it. Even if Reeves' film turned out good, he was still remaking a very new and very excellent film. An endeavor which would be, at best, pointless. And then I learned that the issue of Eli's gender was being removed from the script, which goes a long way towards gutting the story. Eli becomes Abby, and Abby's just a "girl," and all ambiguity is removed. To make things worse, I happened across an interview with Reeves (which I tried to find again, and have been unable to*) in which he was very open about his beliefs that these changes were necessary for the story to be appreciated by an American audience. So, no. I didn't go see it.

I also swore I wouldn't see the DVD.

Regardless, last night, we watched Matt Reeves' film. I tried very hard to judge this film only on its own merits, not relative to Alfredson's. And I failed. But then so does Matt Reeves. Spooky and I often happen upon interesting indie horror films that we'd never heard of, and which turn out to be quite good. Had it not been for the masterful Låt den rätte komma in, Reeves' film might have struck us that way. A pretty good little coming-of-age vampire story. I might even have applauded its grittiness and willingness to take child characters places lots of filmmakers wouldn't have. Instead, Let Me In came across as rushed and disjointed. Even dull. We both actually almost fell asleep.

There are places where the film is a shot-by-shot remake of Låt den rätte komma in, which, again, makes judging it on its own merits difficult. And what was all that business with "Owen's" mother being a religious maniac? I thought, oh...okay...she'll be the one "Abby" bites, the one who lives, then dies in the hospital-room conflagration, having learned she's become the thing she professes to hate, and hey, okay, that might be kind of interesting. But no. Nothing of the sort. Chloe Moretz, who entirely won me over in Kick Ass, radiated nothing of the quiet, innocent threat we saw from Lina Leandersson. And that kid who played "Owen" is about as interesting to watch as a bowl of Cream of Wheat. Is this actually the same actor who appeared in The Road? It's hard to fucking believe. Also, sure, there are more special effects in Reeves' film. Because that's what Americans do. So what?

Verdict: Let Me In is a very mediocre little horror film, if you've never seen Låt den rätte komma in, and if you can set aside the homophobic/transphobic politics that turned Eli into "Abby." But if you passionately love the Swedish film, as did I, and if you expect anything like its depth and Alfredson's marvelous study of mood and atmosphere and character, you're up shit creek. A very shallow shit creek. My advice would be to watch Låt den rätte komma in. It's actually a good film and worthy of your time and attention. To call Matt Reeves' remake unnecessary is a gross understatement.

I never go into a film with the intention of hating it. You know, watching (or reading) something just to earn the rights to kvetch. And I should have kept my promise and avoided this remake.

---

I've ended the keyboard auction. I realize now that I made the incredibly dumb mistake of putting it up just as taxes are due. Maybe I'll list it again in a month or two. My thanks to everyone who looked in, though, and everyone who spread the word.

---

Aside from the film, not much to last night but Rift. Selwyn made Level 26. I genuinely wish that MMORPGs would offer you the opportunity to tell whining, cowering townspeople to butch up and take care of their own problems or shut the fuck up. It could add a whole new set of stats. Another sort of reputation rating or something. I often have that reaction, and I was having it a lot last night, as the people of Granite Falls (Telara's answer to Deadwood, I think) asked me to do this and then that menial task. For example, the nurse who was too squeamish to take blood. Um...okay. The Ascendant are these super beings, essentially demigods, and we spend a significant amount of our time searching out lost lockets for mourning widows and putting meat in the tables of people apparently too lazy or incompetent to do it for themselves. Yeah, that makes sense.

---

And now...well...we'll see.

* I intend to continue looking for it, though.

Postscript: My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark who appears to have found the interview I'm remembering: "Hammer Film's Simon Oakes Promises Scary, Accessible 'Let Me In'". But I may also have read this, which [livejournal.com profile] sovay tracked down: "Matt Reeves Interview LMI DVD,Talks About Abby's Gender." Both contain equally offensive and idiotic comments.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Sometimes, someone says something that's just so absolutely fucking true, you pass it along. So pay the fuck attention (and thanks to Spooky for bringing this to my attention, courtesy [livejournal.com profile] coilhouse). For the record, this is me giving a shit:

"How to Make Love to a Trans Person"

Forget the images you’ve learned to attach
To words like cock and clit,
Chest and breasts.
Break those words open
Like a paramedic cracking ribs
To pump blood through a failing heart.
Push your hands inside.
Get them messy.
Scratch new definitions on the bones.

Get rid of the old words altogether.
Make up new words.
Call it a click or a ditto.
Call it the sound he makes
When you brush your hand against it through his jeans,
When you can hear his heart knocking on the back of his teeth
And every cell in his body is breathing.
Make the arch of her back a language
Name the hollows of each of her vertebrae
When they catch pools of sweat
Like rainwater in a row of paper cups
Align your teeth with this alphabet of her spine
So every word is weighted with the salt of her.

When you peel layers of clothing from his skin
Do not act as though you are changing dressings on a trauma patient
Even though it’s highly likely that you are.
Do not ask if she’s “had the surgery.”
Do not tell him that the needlepoint bruises on his thighs look like they hurt
If you are being offered a body
That has already been laid upon an altar of surgical steel
A sacrifice to whatever gods govern bodies
That come with some assembly required
Whatever you do,
Do not say that the carefully sculpted landscape
Bordered by rocky ridges of scar tissue
Looks almost natural.

If she offers you breastbone
Aching to carve soft fruit from its branches
Though there may be more tissue in the lining of her bra
Than the flesh that rises to meet it,
Let her ripen in your hands.
Imagine if she’d lost those swells to cancer,
Diabetes,
A car accident instead of an accident of genetics
Would you think of her as less a woman then?
Then think of her as no less one now.

If he offers you a thumb-sized sprout of muscle
Reaching toward you when you kiss him
Like it wants to go deep enough inside you
To scratch his name on the bottom of your heart
Hold it as if it can-
In your hand, in your mouth
Inside the nest of your pelvic bones.
Though his skin may hardly do more than brush yours,
You will feel him deeper than you think.

Realize that bodies are only a fraction of who we are
They’re just oddly-shaped vessels for hearts
And honestly, they can barely contain us
We strain at their seams with every breath we take
We are all pulse and sweat,
Tissue and nerve ending
We are programmed to grope and fumble until we get it right.
Bodies have been learning each other forever.
It’s what bodies do.
They are grab bags of parts
And half the fun is figuring out
All the different ways we can fit them together;
All the different uses for hipbones and hands,
Tongues and teeth;
All the ways to car-crash our bodies beautiful.
But we could never forget how to use our hearts
Even if we tried.
That’s the important part.
Don’t worry about the bodies.
They’ve got this.


-- Gabe Moses
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, yeah. Nice, comforting They Might Be Giants videos, but this, this is how I feel:



And also, from Coilhouse.com, there's a story about a very beautiful child, beautiful paintings, the dread of transgendered bullying: "Mother and Muse: Margo and Theo Selski"
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A wonderful hard rain yesterday, wonderful even though I had to go Out into it. Much of the snow has been melted and washed away.

Comments would be good today. I know it's Saturday, but it feels like Sunday, and Sundays suck.

Well, the medical appointment yesterday wasn't nearly as bad as expected. I have a new doctor, and it's an infinitely better match than the last. So, no more Evil Nasty Clinic filled with rude homophobic assholes who get freaked out by pentagrams. Also, new doctor has an aquarium built into the waiting room wall, which scores all sorts of points with me.

After we got home yesterday, Spooky saw a raven perched on the house across the street. They don't usually range this far south, but this winter they're turning up in Rhode Island. Normally, we only get crows and fish crows. Sadly, I didn't see it. We're both getting somewhat serious about birding, and I take that as a sign of our advancing years. Then again, bird watching ain't nothing but dinosaur watching misspelled.

I got a copy of [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney's (Karen Mahoney) first novel, The Iron Witch, in the mail. Thank you, Kaz! And congratulations.

Late in the day, we proofed "By Turns" for To Worlds and In Between, so some work was done.

I loaded a lot of Dead Can Dance onto the iPod yesterday.

I've made an interesting decision as regards The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. It occurred to me, yesterday, that I read novels about heterosexual characters, and the word heterosexual, or even straight, never appears, unless it's used to set the characters apart from queers. So. I'm removing every instance of the word lesbian from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Sure, there's lesbian relationships, lesbo sex, a hot tranny dyke, a sapphic siren/wolf girl, and so forth. But nowhere in the book will I actually use the word lesbian. Because I wouldn't use het, probably not even once, were Imp straight. And I figure, not only is it the right thing to do, but it will somehow annoy the bigots even more.

---

How frakkin' good is Rift? So damn good that Spooky and I are currently trading her laptop back and forth so that we can both play, that's how good. So far, no disappointments. Quite exactly the opposite. Telara grows more amazing the more I see. Right now, I'm in love with the creature design. Yesterday, Selwyn, my Kelari mage, made Level 12. Her minion is a human skeleton named Jude. Spooky's Kelari cleric, Miisya, made Level 10. She'll catch up today. Oh, and players cooperate, and come to the rescue of others, and stuff like that. Who'd have thought it? Yes, there are a few jerks. But infinitely (well, not literally) less than in WoW, and they're easy to ignore, especially if, like me, you keep general chat off.

In WoW, I'm still grinding away in Outland, trying to get Loremaster with Shaharrazad before I exit stage left. But it's starting to look as if that may never happen. Loremaster, I mean. There are just too many broken, forgotten quests out there. And I'll need every one of them to make the title. On the upside, WoW is a hell of a lot more fun playing in regions where there are absolutely no other players. By the way, third worst WoW quest ever is to be found in Shadowmoon Valley: "I was a lot of things..."

---

Vince is currently working on the illustration for Sirenia Digest #63, and it'll go out to subscribers ASAP. What? You're not a subscriber??? Fix that now! The platypus compels you with his venomous spurs.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
All my best lives are lived in dreams.

Yesterday, being a day off, was, in the main, unremarkable, which is about the best I seem able to hope of my days off. (This is my journal and I may sound glum if I wish, and bugger off if you think any otherwise.)

There was torrential rain, and ferocious wind. The weather always becomes more interesting with the judicious application of adjectives.

I wore my pajamas all day, and we finished listening Madelaine L'Engle read A Wrinkle in Time. I may fundamentally disagree with L'Engle's cosmogony, which is distinctly Xtian, but I love this book, all the same. There was ramen for breakfast. There were brownies later on, and there was Chinese takeout for dinner. Late, there were those little Mystic frozen pizzas. There was a lot of WoW, because the weather was too crappy to venture out. Eyes of Sylvanas is beginning to feel a little like an actual guild, and there's talk of some coordinated play. We currently have 29 toons signed up. I finally got back to China Miéville's The Kraken, which I rather inexplicably set aside after the chaos of the Portland trip at the start of October. I took a nap in front of the fireplace. Spooky and I watched David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986) again. Not sure which of us has seen it the most times, we've both seen in so many times. Just before sleep, Spooky read to me from Angela Carter.

Spooky has played a Worgen through the starting area, from Gilneas to Teldrassil. And, I quote, "That was so bad I wanted to die." So, I stand by my earlier assessment. Yes, Gilneas is beautifully designed. But the Worgen are a huge disappointment. Not scary. Not fun to play. Ridiculous to look at. And why do the females stand upright, while the males lurch and slump? The XX chromosomes must somehow protect the spine and pelvis of female werewolves. For that matter, the same is true of the trolls, now that I think of it. And if the Forsaken can be cannibals and scavenge their human kills, who don't the Worgan? Are furries too squeamish? Or is it because the Worgan are Alliance? Yet, I will say that it would be nice if Blizzard would gift the faux Brit accents of the Worgan and the people of Gilneas to the humans of Stormwind...who either sound like rednecks or Ned Flanders.

Today, I'm going to begin listening to the unabridged audiobook of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

And begin Chapter Three of The Drowning Girl. In which Imp may attempt to tell one version of the truth.

Last night, a curious thing occurred to me. These days, most of my favorite musicians are men, and most of my favorite authors are women. It wasn't always this way. In the 90s, most of the musicians I listened to were women, and when I was a teenager, my favorite authors were male. So, not sure what to make of this. A statistical burp, and probably nothing more.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Of all my nightmares, there is one that is the worst. Even my nightmares of nuclear apocalypse pale by comparison. It came to me this morning, that worst of all my dreams. And now I'm trying to put it away.

Yesterday, I wrote 973 words on "The Prayer of Ninety Cats." It was a day of very, very slow and meticulous writing. This is probably a more ambitious short story than I needed to take on just now. Maybe it's my way of coping with not having gotten the Mars story written.

I got the news yesterday that A is for Alien has sold out at the publisher. Which pleases me, and means, among other things, that we will now be offering it on eBay soon.

The weather has turned cold, and I'm supposing the first real snow's not too far off.

Last night, I tried Dogfish Head's Chicory Stout, and was truly, truly impressed. And I'm a stout snob.

Oh, and before anyone mentions it, I am very skeptical about Catherine Hardwicke's forthcoming Red Riding Hood, despite the involvement of Leonardo Dicaprio and Gary Oldman. For one, Hardwicke directed the first Twilight film, and for another, there's a lot of crap in the trailer that looks tailored to the paranormal romance/shifter crowd. Oh, and there's Billy Burke's absurdly anachronistic haircut. That haircut causes me pain. It hurts. I'm also annoyed at the articles calling this a "bold new take on 'Little Red Riding Hood,'" because it certainly isn't a new take. So, yeah, we shall see.

And do, please, not forget that today is the Twelfth Annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Tomorrow is the Twelfth Annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance. I don't think I need to explain what this is, or why it means a lot to me, personally. The world remains fucked up, and people are ignorant and hateful, and many transgender people are harassed, murdered, and commit suicide because of this ignorance and hatred. I will live, grow old, and die, and the world will still be fucked up. But you say what you can, and do what you can, and you keep on moving.

Here in Providence, a Transgender Day of Remembrance event will be held at 6:00 pm. Participants will gather at Youth Pride, Inc., 171 Chestnut Street and will walk in a candlelight procession to the Beneficent Congregational Church at 300 Weybosset St. for the memorial ceremony. At the conclusion of the ceremony, participants will walk by candlelight back to Youth Pride, Inc.

And on that note, I leave you with Hal Duncan, one Scottish sodomite who doesn't mince his fucking words.

greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
So, a five-year-old boy wants to dress as Daphne (from Scooby Doo) for Halloween. The mother has no problem with this. But parents at the church preschool he attends go apeshit. Mom stays cool and tells people to piss off.

I quote:

If you think that me allowing my son to be a female character for Halloween is somehow going to ‘make’ him gay then you are an idiot. Firstly, what a ridiculous concept. Secondly, if my son is gay, OK. I will love him no less. Thirdly, I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off.

If my daughter had dressed as Batman, no one would have thought twice about it. No one.


Here's the blog entry, with a great photo of the kid as Daphne. Some moms rock.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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