greygirlbeast: (cullom)
0. Comments would be very welcome today.

1. Chilly and sunny today. Our little Indian Summer has come and gone. All three days of it. I left the house only once, briefly, the entire time. I expect no more days in the eighties until June.

2. On this day, eighteen years ago, I began writing Silk. Weather-wise, it was a day much like today, though much farther south. Eighteen years, so that means babies born that day are, as of this day, old enough to vote. One of them picking up Silk today, would be like me, on the occasion of my eighteenth birthday, picking up a copy of a novel whose author began writing it in 1964. These are very strange thoughts. Silk is, lest anyone delude themselves into thinking otherwise, a snapshot of a time, culture, and place long vanished. I am not that person anymore. No, not really. There's a faint echo of her around here somewhere.

3. My mood is lower today than it's been in, I don't know. Months. These things happen, and we stay on our meds, and we speak of ourselves in the third person, and we ride them out.

4. Yesterday, you might have seen a news story with a sensational headline something like: "Giant 'Kraken' Lair Discovered: Cunning Sea Monster That Preyed On Ichthyosaurs.". People kept sending me links to it yesterday. And the best I can say about this affair is that if I were still teaching, I'd point to this as a sterling example of Really Bad Science. One does not find a peculiar pattern (in this case, the arrangement of ichthyosaur vertebrae) and invent an outlandish explanation with no evidence whatsoever. And call it something lurid and ridiculous like a "Giant Kraken." There's zero evidence for the existence of a giant Triassic teuthid (squid). Zero. No fossil evidence. So, to posit that one was moving ichthyosaur bones around is very akin to the Weekly World News having once blamed "Alien Big-Game Hunters" for the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. In short, it's silly. I could write a long essay on this, but I won't. Even if Mark McMenamin could find fossil evidence for a giant squid of roughly the same age as Shonisaurus popularis, it would still be almost impossible to say it was responsible for moving those bones into that pattern.

5. Yesterday...I worked. Not as much as I should have, because...sometimes it's hurry up and wait. But I did work. Mostly, more planning for the book-trailer shoot this weekend. Only three days to go. And it looks like there will be rain on Friday, which is going to play merry havoc with our schedule.

6. Want to see the American Consumer at its least rational? Just look back over the recent fiasco with Netflix, and the damage its done to the company (a two-thirds stock drop since July, and still going down). Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has apologized for the proposed Netflix/Quickster division for rental/streaming services, which is absurd. That he apologized, I mean. People need to cut the entitlement bullshit. Better streaming services will cost more, and the industry is moving towards streaming. Period. I am far from being a financially stable person, but the original Netflix business model won't work forever, and it's wasteful, and is costing the USPS a fortune.

7. Frequently, people have asked me to blog my Second Life roleplay. Usually, I don't do this, because doing so leads to spending time writing that could be spent RPing. But I have begun keeping a journal of Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene's trials and tribulations in Insilico, the life of an illegal Level A clone/Class V AI. It's an excuse to keep myself limber with cyberpunk narratives. If you're interested, you can follow the journal here. Oh, and there are pictures. These days, about the only reason I can find to bother with SL is Insilico, and it's far from perfect. But the build is exquisite, and the RP is probably about the best ever in SL.

8. As for the non-work part of yesterday, I read two articles in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: "Variation in the skull of Anchiceratops (Dinosauria, Ceratopsidae) from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Alberta" and "A sauropod dinosaur pes from the latest Cretaceous of North America, and the validity of Alamosaurus sanjuanensis (Sauropoda, Titanosauria)."* And we read two more chapters of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (we're nearing the end of the book), and played some Rift, and I read a rather awful short story by F. Paul Wilson, "The November Game," an extremely unfortunate "sequel" to Ray Bradbury's classic "The October Game." If you're going to attempt a sequel to one of the best spooky stories of the 20th Century, at least have the respect and good sense to mind the mood and tone of the original. And that was yesterday.

Twiddling Her Thumbs,
Aunt Beast

* Looks as though there's only a single species of Anchiceratops, A. ornatus, and that Alamosaurus is a valid taxon.
greygirlbeast: (white)
No, I'm awake. I promise. I can even see. Almost. I have even managed to survive the severe upbraiding I have received from Spooky for having awakened her at dawn-thirty because I was awakened by Hubero at dawn-thirty. I don't know why I did it! He does crazy shit, okay?! Crazy-ass cat shit, and usually she knows how to scare him in to calming the hell down. Instead, no, I'm in trouble for waking her up – me, the victim.

But that's cool. No more saving her from sasquatches.

And here it is the First of Hallowe'en, which would be fine, if I hadn't lost the first third of summer to rain, and the second third to...a bunch of dumb shit.

Yesterday I wrote a mere 454 words on "Daughter Dear Desmodus." Then I realized, This isn't a vignette. Or even a "sudden" fiction, or a short short, or whatever the beatniks are saying these days. It's not a short story, and I think it's more than a novelette. Or even a novella. Gods fuck me sideways, I think it's the first few pages of a novel about a "bat girl" in a carnival sideshow and how she grows up to unwittingly become the center of a doomsday cult, and fall in love. You know, like Water for Elephants on LSD.* And that's when I typed, THE END, because if I stopped at the conclusion of the paragraph I was writing, the story would have a happy ending. Okay, not happy. But what Spooky pronounced "sweet." Look, I don't know if it's the pills they give me so I don't flop around on the floor and choke on my own spittle to die the ignominious death of Tchaikovsky, or if I'm just getting old...but I find myself, now and again, wanting to let a character with whom I have fallen in love off the hook just a little. IS THAT SO BAD? Anyway, this is the story Vince will be illustrating, instead of the other story.

Spooky's muttering about washing her hair.

Yesterday, the mail (which only works about half the time) brought me my comp copies of Paula Guran's Halloween (Prime Books), a volume with many fine authors (Ray Bradbury, Thomas Ligotti, Lovecraft, Peter Straub, me, and etcetera) that reprints my piece, "On the Reef" (I found two minor typos; my fault). Oddly, I appear only ever to have written two "Hallowe'en stories": "At the Reef" and "A Redress for Andromeda." More proof I'm not a "horror" writer. You know, people still get hung up on that shit, me refusing to be called a "horror" writer. They take it personally. Seriously. For my part, I look at writers I admire, who had a great influence on me growing up. Ray Bradbury (again), for example. Sure, he writes science fiction, and fantasy (sensu stricto and sensu lato), and scary stories, and non-fantastic lit. Italo Calvino? Ambrose Bierce? Or Harlan Ellison, for example. You could not find an author more impossible to categorize (okay, well maybe you could, but that's not the point). He writes...what he wants to write. Same with Shirley Jackson: ghost stories, insightful stories about insanity and the labyrinth of the American family, and she also wrote some very funny shit. And Lovecraft? You really think "The Colour Out of Space" and "At the Mountains of Madness" are "horror" stories? But...William Gibson's "Hinterlands," that's sceince fiction? Pffffft.

You know, there are an awful lot of quotation marks in the last paragraph.

Today I work on pulling Sirenia Digest #70 together, so that I can send it to be PDF'd as soon as I have Vince's illustration, then Spooky can send it out to all the subscribers (and if you are not one of those, it's NEVER too late...unless you die first).

Some really fine RP in Insilico last night. Thank you, Joah. You've helped to complete the building of the perfect beast. And I read Algernon Blackwood's sublime "The Wendigo" for the umpteenth time, but every time it amazes me all the more.

Anyway...you know what? I consider myself a connoisseur of fetishes. There are few of them with which I am not acquainted. And there are still fewer that don't get me off. Wait...never mind. This isn't about non-Euclidian geometry and larger and smaller infinities, Georg Cantor and his cardinalities, integers vs. whole numbers. Not that math can't be a fetish. It can. But...what was I saying? Oh! Yes! Every now and then I watch the creation of a new fetish right before my very eyes and I know - with perfect clarity - it was created just for me. To whit, Christina Hendricks and her red accordion. I would show you the clip, but YouTube has disabled embedding by request. You'll have to settle for a link to Christina Hendricks playing her red accordion. And really, it's all I need. I could just...sit...and watch...her and...that red accordion...for hours. Without breathing.

Stopping Before Someone Gets Hurt,
Aunt Beast

*A novel I might be able to write by 2014.
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: (Default)
Sunny and warm here in Providence today. Windy, though. I've earned a day off, and there's talk of swimming. But the breakers are high, as are the swells.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,695 words on Chapter Seven of Blood Oranges. And found the chapter's ending. A whole chapter in four days!. Which means I have only one chapter remaining, and the book will be finished...before the end of August, as planned (after I failed to finish at the end of the train wreck that was July). I see the ending now. There's an old school bus filled with...oh, I mentioned that already. Okay, let's just say it has a big 'splody ending. I think it'll be fun to write that last chapter (which, by the way, will also be the set up for a second book).

A really wonderful email this morning from Neil, who's away in Edinburgh, and I'm still smiling. I may smile for a week.

And good things just keep happening for The Drowning Girl. This is, simply and by far, the best novel I've ever written. It's the other side of The Red Tree. It's the whisper I've been after all these years, my continual, habitual reaching into the dark to see what reaches back (thank you, Alan Wilder). And it's being recognized. It's being loved by people whose work means so much to me, the people whom I admire most in the world, and I thank them one and fucking all. And the book won't even be OUT until March 2012. The ARCs won't even go out until early December.

---

Last night, after a fine repast prepared by Spooky, we played a little Rift (we both got the title "vampire hunter"), and I had a wonderful RP scene in Insilico (SL). Grendel was paired against a sensei, to prove her Shenkindo training. To say the least, her style is unconventional. But she won the match, putting the sensei face down on the mat. She flipped the switch of her katana that triggers the laser arc set into the blade, and was ready for the kill (it had been implied that no quarter would be given), when her yakuza boss stayed her hand. Yeah, cool stuff. Anyway, we read more of The Stand. Larry Underwood is about to attempt the passage through the Lincoln Tunnel.

I've been thinking of making a "mix tape," on an actual fucking cassette recorder. Songs for the Stand. Maybe dubbing six or seven copies, and sending five or so to the first few who ask for them. You could never do this properly on CD. It has to be on cassette. Songs King quotes in the novel, songs from the mid and late seventies. This isn't a for sure thing. Just a thing that would be fun to do. Music from the decade in which I grew up.

I read "Gyracanthid gnathostome remains from the Carboniferous of Illinois" in the July JVP. And I read more of the book about the firestorm at Peshtigo.

And that was yesterday.

Now...the sea, perhaps. Or, perhaps, Swan Point. Or...we'll see.

Off,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
Thank you, those who helped [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and me reach – and exceed – the $1,200 goal of our Drowning Girl Kickstarter in less than 24 hours! We're going to add a couple more copies of the book at new price points (by request), and maybe something that's so cool I'm going to hold off mentioning even the possibility of it. You guys truly rock. As will the fruits of this undertaking. We can all point at the results and say, "We did this." This makes us mighty (to paraphrase Mal Reynolds).

Yesterday, I wrote an extremely respectable 1,800 words, getting Chapter Six of Blood Oranges off to a good start. I discovered how to write an action scene without belaboring the affair with blow-by-blow choreography. Which, for me, destroys novels. Also, I think there may only be nine chapters, not the originally projected ten.

Belatedly, I'm announcing this month's selection for Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club. Last night, Spooky and I read the first two chapters of Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and we're liking it a lot. Someone sent this copy to me, but I've forgotten who. Regardless, thank you (this is the audiobook cover, but you get the idea). Go forth, and be literate!



Spooky made a peach cobbler last night, with peaches from the farmer's market. So, I was a bad kid (again) and had a slice for breakfast.

I'm going to have to make it clear to editors, from here on (probably on a case-by-case basis), that I am simply too busy to write short fiction for anything less than 5-10¢/word, because I'm getting really tired of these 1¢/word offers. Last time I looked, pro rate was a measly 3¢ a word, and if you can't meet that, I'm not sure you should be publishing (a few good small press magazines excepted). By the way, the "pro rate" has stayed pretty constant for about a hundred years. Still want to be a writer?

Some good RP in Insilico the past two nights. Grendel is back from London. But, to my guildies in Rift, I have not forsaken thee, and should be back by Monday evening.

Cheap, But Not That Cheap,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
It's comment day, Mouseketeers‎! Um...I mean...kittens.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,558 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges. I'm doing my best to go over the 1,150 word minimum for each day – word banking – because I know I'm going to miss three days this month. Three days writing, I mean. One to an appointment with my doctor and a couple more for the Drowning Girl shoot in and around Boston with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and crew. Right now, the word bank stands at 655 words.

Yesterday, my agent and I also mapped out my workload between now and January...and it's pretty daunting. I may post it tomorrow. Well, then again, maybe not. Regardless, it's a heavy load, even for me. What is this Outside of which you speak? Social life?

Gonna be pretty warm again today.

---

[livejournal.com profile] joshrupp emailed to ask (edited for space):


Anyway, I had a question, time and temperament permitting. Why is the term “horror writer” a stigma?...The people we call “horror writers” are telling scary stories, and the people who write about actual horror are called “dark fantasists” or some ambiguous bullshit like that. It’s such a good word ["horror"], and in that sense I’ve always thought of you as a horror writer. How to parse this as a question slightly eludes me, but: If you aren’t a horror writer, what are you? You’ve been talking about triggerpunk, and I’ve never known a trigger to evoke happy-bunnies-sparkly-rainbow-fuzzies. Is the term “horror writer” something you’d ever reclaim, because it’s getting frustrating not knowing how to group people who write about dark things.

Quick and dirty answer.

I'm not a horror writer because I say that I'm not, and this whole art thing is about, among other things, the right to self-determination. That said, "horror" is pretty much the kiss of death in the publishing industry these days. Try to get a good agent while calling yourself a horror writer, and see what I mean. The heyday of genre horror was the seventies and eighties, and by the early nineties it was dying a much-deserved death. Much deserved because it had, as a "genre," as a whole, whored itself raw.

That said, I don't set out to write stories that are intended to scare people. Honestly, never even once do I think I've done that. I write the stories I want to write. And yeah, they're dark. Sometimes, they're so dark you'd be better off calling them jet or ebony or whatever. But darkness does not always equate to the emotion "horror." It may equate to many other emotions (terror, despair, ennui, sorrow, regret, etc.), and often it is from those emotions that the darkness in my stories arises. I'm just spitting up words here, as I write this entry. It's not an essay, and I'm, at best, half awake. So cut me some slack on the rambling.

To define someone's fiction by recourse to a single emotion engages in a sort of literary reductionism that I find grating and, to be blunt, offensive. My writing has worn more labels than I could ever keep up with. Usually, I only find the labeling sort of odd. Usually, it doesn't annoy me. Or rather, it doesn't annoy me so long as it doesn't restrict me. Labels lead to expectation. I want a readership virtually free of expectation – beyond the expectation of well-written prose. I don't want people coming to one of my stories or novels and saying "Well, that didn't scare me." I'm not a thrill ride, and good fiction never sets out to evoke a single emotion. The triggerpunk thing, that was a joke, taking a jab at both the readers who whine about fiction being "triggery" and at those who insist literature must be put into neat boxes. It wasn't a serious proposal. It was satire. But triggerpunk (ugh) is a more accurate description of my writing.

And no, I have no interest in reclaiming horror. It was pretty much never mine (I belonged to the HWA for two years, realized what a nepotistic wankfest it was, and quit in '96), and I don't want it. I see others clinging to it for dear fucking life, and I have no idea why.

It is far more truthful to look at my writing, to look at each piece individually and at the totality of it, and – if you must label it – call it dark fantasy. That's not "ambiguous bullshit." With few exceptions, my fiction is fantasy (excepting some of the harder sf), and, with almost no exceptions, it's dark. But only sometimes is it horrific. Ergo, I refer to myself as a dark fantasist. It's accurate. There's no false advertising. No one out there – no reader, writer, or editor – should feel insulted because I don't call myself a horror writer and ask others not to use that term to describe me. I mean, really. What difference does it make, as long as I write stories worth reading? Fuck the labels.

But thank you for the question, [livejournal.com profile] joshrupp. I only sound cranky because I'm not awake, and I've been asked, and have felt compelled to answer, this question about five hundred times.

Also, it seems that Grendel's back, albeit rebooted and recast.

And now it's time for my Red Bull.

Unboxed,
Aunt Beast

Profile

greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

S M T W T F S
    1 234
56 7 891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 19th, 2017 10:34 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios